A coastal treasure with stunning views

West Ironbound is a protected 120-acre island along the Atlantic coast of southwest Nova Scotia, just off-shore from Hirtle’s Beach on the Kingsburg Peninsula, and situated within the LaHave River estuary.

west ironbound

The island is a coastal treasure that includes a thriving rookery for great blue herons, nesting bald eagles, and abundant space for other nesting birds. It provides stunning ocean vistas and unique views of the LaHave Islands, Hartling Bay, and the shoreline of the Kingsburg Peninsula.

Our Role

After initially buying half the island in 2010, the Kingsburg Coastal Conservancy was able to purchase the rest of it in 2013 through a combination of fundraising and funding from the Province of Nova Scotia, the Sitka Foundation of British Columbia, and numerous individuals.


In the mid-19th century, the island was settled as a fishing outport. A century later, a local family moved there as lighthouse keepers, and for several generations also worked a small potato farm and kept sheep. The resident human community is long gone, but quasi-feral sheep still roam the island. The current flock is tended by a local farmer who commutes periodically from the mainland.

In 1907, West Ironbound Island was the site of the winter stranding of the S.S. Mount Temple. The subsequent rescue of its passengers and crew has long been part of the lore of the South Shore.

This is the first known map of the Kingsburg area drawn Samuel de Champlain in 1604. In his journal he wrote “On the 8th of the same month, we sighted Cap de la Hève, to the east of which is a bay, containing several islands covered with fir-trees. On the main land are oaks, elms, and birches. It joins the coast of La Cadie at the latitude of 44˚5˙, and at 16˚15˙ of the deflection of the magnetic needle….”

Map of West Ironbound Island