lundy island light coastal view off lundy path from landing stage the only watering hole on the island
the oldenburgh visiting the island morning mist not all sea and sand just a few of the sparse buildings on the island

Images from the Peter Hill gallery

Gannets Coombe

Gannets Coombe



Over the centuries Lundy has attracted more than its fair share of cheats, chancers and over-optimistic businessmen who have tried - and largely failed - to make the island pay.

But now this three-mile long hunk of granite in the Bristol Channel is enjoying a period of stability and prosperity that would turn failed profiteers of the past green with envy.

During the last 12 months, 20,000 visitors endured the often choppy crossing from north Devon or hopped on to the winter helicopter in search of a taste of the quiet life, and a record-breaking number stayed in Lundy's holiday lets.

Divers, climbers, wildlife lovers, and campanologists who like to ring the bells of the surprisingly large Gothic-style church of St Helena have been arriving in their droves even during the winter, when the place can be blasted by the wind, rain and sea salt.

It means the island, which has just one shop and one pub - but three lighthouses and its own slaughterhouse - is turning over £2m a year and is providing jobs and homes to a close-knit community of 27 hardy souls.

Despite its isolation, there is a surprising amount to do on Lundy, as long as you like the outdoor life. In the summer diving and snorkeling are popular. In the winter, visitors walk, watch wildlife, take photographs or paint, and almost inevitably, retire to the pub, the Marisco Tavern, for a drink and hearty meal.

But it is mostly about enjoying the peace and quiet. Robin, of Cwmbran, south Wales, has been visiting for 11 years and always chooses to go in winter now. "It's tranquil. You've got the place to yourselves without the day trippers. We walk, we explore, we have a drink in the pub. There's a magic here."

Lundy's general manager Derek Green - who doubles as the fire chief (he took delivery of a new fire engine in summer, though it has yet to be used in anger), pub licensee and the unofficial policeman - said the future seemed bright: "Lundy has had mixed fortunes over the years. It's expensive to run an island, especially one in the Bristol Channel where the weather can be challenging, but we're in a good position."

Green said more and more people were coming to escape the rigors of living on the mainland, 11 miles away. While previously a typical Lundy visit was a day trip on the ferry, now people are staying - the 23 holiday homes have been full for 90% of the year.

"With rising prices, congestion, crime, everything that is blighting the mainland, Lundy has stood still. One of its attractions is that it hasn't changed in 40 or 50 years. It's a world apart."

Certainly crime is not a problem. A stolen fishing rod is the only recorded offence in the last five years. No one has been caught but Green says the case is not closed and he has a suspect in mind.

Not that it is anybody currently working on the island. They are a close bunch. Some are single, others are couples. Until recently there was a family with a child. Efforts were made to link him up to a local school via a web cam; it worked well for a time but he needed more physical contact with his classmates and the scheme was abandoned.

At 77, Reg Tuffin, who runs Lundy's private postal service, is the closest the island has to a local, having been there for 15 years. He hopes to stay for the rest of his life. "I came for a day trip on a paddle steamer in the 50s and was enchanted," he said. Over the years he has been kitchen porter, barman, cleaner and shop assistant. Home for him is a tiny converted goat shed, which he shares with a pygmy shrew.

The island is also making great efforts to be self-sufficient. The most popular dishes at the Marisco Tavern strongly feature the deer, wild sheep and goats that live on the island.

The islanders collect rainwater, treat it and use it for the water supply. Glass bottles are crushed and used to surface the road. Power remains a challenge as the island is not on the national grid but relies on a generator, which is switched off from midnight to 6am.

This year it will be 40 years since the National Trust bought Lundy and the Landmark Trust began to manage it, as it still does. While the future seems good, Lundy cannot be taken for granted. Only last year there was concern when chunks of the road - Lundy's lifeline - crumbled away.

The Landmark Trust declared the situation "critical" and launched a £1m appeal. Money came in and the road has been pinned back into the cliff. The island may not change but people's influence on it does. Many residents say they simply cannot plan ahead. Shop assistant Patrizia Fursdon, who is from northern Italy but came to live on Lundy after falling in love with Roger Fursdon, the island's engineer, said: "When you live here, you live day by day. I always think I am temporary here and so far it has been five years."

Tuffin warns that making Lundy work is a delicate task. "In the past people have had ideas about the island, that they can perhaps make a quick buck, but there's always the Lundy factor. Lundy decides what can be done here, not people."
Island life: Lundy's checkered history

Since prehistoric times people have tried, and often failed, to make an honest living out of Lundy. Pirates and cheats are the ones who have made handsome profits - and even they generally got their comeuppance.

During the prehistoric era, lack of flint, used to make tools, would have made life difficult for early settlers. From the dark ages onwards, pirates spotted the island's strategic worth and moved in, caused havoc in the Bristol Channel before being chased off.

One of the most notorious crooks who took advantage of Lundy was Thomas Benson, an MP for Barnstaple in the 18th century. One of his ruses was to hide convicts on the island after being paid to deport them to the United States. But he fled abroad after a scam in which a heavily insured ship was set on fire was unearthed.

In the 19th century a project to mine granite lasted only five years. It was expensive and impractical to get the stone to the mainland. In 1969 businessman Jack Hayward, the former owner of Wolverhampton Wanderers football club, bought the island and donated it to the National Trust.
* Steven Morris * The Guardian, Monday 5 January 2009


logo for the lundy marine conservation site

Lundy Island

Lundy Island offers visitors an extraordinary range of buildings in which to stay, from the 13th century castle, to a late Georgian gentleman's villa, and a lighthouse to the Admiralty lookout and fishermen's chalet. The 23 buildings are furnished in typical Landmark style for comfort and practicality. All have heating and some have open fires or stoves as well. The furniture is old and good. It is carefully chosen to suit each property
Tour of Lundy
Lundy is an island in the Bristol Channel off the west coast of Britain. It attracts many visitors, both for its peaceful surroundings and scientific research.
The waters around it are England’s only statutory Marine Nature Reserve.
The island itself is mostly granite with a farmed area at the south and open moorland to the north, protected by numerous environmental designations. Most scientific work is organised through the Lundy Field Society. For over 50 years the Lundy Field Society has been carrying out conservation work, supporting research on the island and publishing the results in the Annual Report of the Lundy Field Society. The Annual Report contains reports on recent research as well as systematic lists of the birds, mammals and insects seen on the island over the preceding year
The Landmark Trust, Lundy
Lundy offers a very rare experience. It is large enough to have a genuine life of its own, which visitors can share and enjoy, but small and far enough away to be a world apart and unspoiled. Activities on Lundy range from the adventurous, such as rock climbing or diving in the Marine Nature Reserve, to the more gentle pursuits of bird watching, walking, socialising at the Marisco Tavern or simply relaxing in this remote and tranquil place.
Adventure Photographs of Lundy
Lundy Island is a small, very beautiful island in the Bristol Channel, some twenty kilometres west of the Devon coast. The island of Lundy, although only only five kilometres long and two kilometres across at its widest point, is sited on major bird migrating routes, is well known for its fauna and flora owing to its biogeographical isolation, is a sub-aqua and snorkel enthusiasts paradise, an entomologist's dream and possesses one of the most impressive rock climbing coastlines in Britain.
Lundy Birds
Lying astride the mouth of the Bristol Channel, Lundy has long proved to be a magnet for migrating birds,
with a long list of major rarities to its name, and is nationally important for its breeding seabirds
Clovelly Charters
Based in Clovelly, North Devon only 1 hour from Lundy Island, take a trip aboard the Jessica Hettie   website
Draxium Lundy
Lundy Island rises approximately 400 feet out of the Bristol Channel about 11 miles off Hartland Point on the North Devon coast (UK - Lat: 51° 10' N; Long: 4° 40' W). It is basically a granite outcrop about three miles long and half a mile wide. Whilst the top of Lundy is reasonably flat, it has very steep sides. The west side of the island is exposed to the Atlantic Ocean and has considerably less vegetation than the more sheltered east side which faces the mainland.
Lundy Island - a painters views
Lundy island is a granite rock some 400 ft. high 3 miles long and 1/2 mile wide situated 12 miles off the north Devon coast of England with a unique ecology.
This is my personal pictorial of the two TRINITY HOUSE LIGHTHOUSE'S refurbished externally by IAN WILLIAMS .Ltd. of which I took part.
Lundy Island, Isle of Avalon
There was said to be a specially holy race of men on Lundy, who refused trade & had visions of the future.' - A. F. Langham, quoting from Peter Levi "The Flutes of Autumn"
Paddling out to Lundy
When Paddle Steamers returned to the Avon Gorge again after their wartime mine-sweeping duties (shallow draught), it was a great moment. Voyaging to Ilfracombe, or on to Lundy, on board a member of P & A Campbell's White Funnel Fleet was a wonderful trip.  We see here the fondly-remembered "Bristol Queen", but, thanks to "Waverley" and "Balmoral", a variety of Bristol Channel trips, can still be enjoyed
Lundy Island Society
The Lundy Island Society was formed by ringers who had an interest in the restoration of the bells of St. Helena's Church on Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel. Originally installed in 1897, the bells became unsafe very quickly; the society's main aim was to completely restore this fine ring of eight.



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