RONALD MATHIAS LOCKLEY (1903 – 2000) was born in Whitchurch, a Cardiff suburb, where his childhood was spent in the woods and wetlands around the old Glamorganshire Canal. After leaving school he started poultry farming, but gave this up in 1927 when he took on a 21 year lease of Skokholm. Once settled with his family on the island, he began a pioneering study of migratory seabirds, notably the shearwaters and storm petrels, and established the first bird observatory in Britain. Returning to farming on the mainland when Skokholm was acquired by the military in 1940, he continued to be an active naturalist and conservationist, playing a leading role in establishing the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. He also wrote over fifty books, including Dream Island (1930), Letters from Skokholm (1947), the New Naturalist edition of Seabirds (1954), and The Private Life of the Rabbit (1964), which influenced Richard Adams’s Watership Down.
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