Discover Lundy Island
Lundy Island is a scenic island located a stones throw off the coast of North Devon. A visit to Lundy Island is tantamount to stepping into the pages of history, each building and monument serves as a reminder of the rich lives of those who first greeted the island. Whether you are catching sight of the grey seals in the water or taking in the beautiful ocean scenery, Lundy island trips have a little bit to offer everyone. In this day and age it is rare to find such authentic and untouched remnants of the past. With the recent growth and development on the island, there is much to do for the wandering tourist. Visiting Lundy Island offers a chance to witness wildlife and plant species that are native to the island. There are also several activities such as climbing and diving that appeal to the more adventurous traveller. Whatever you decide to do, you’ll find yourself wanting to come back to Lundy. There is something magical and intriguing about the island that makes it nearly impossible to visit for just a single occasion.
Visiting Lundy Island
To access Lundy you can either enjoy the 2-hour ride on the Lundy Ferry, Oldenburg or you can jet-set to the island on a helicopter. Access to Lundy is free for those who have travelled to the island using a scheduled service. Many people visit Lundy Island for a day and visit the many ancient ruins and learn more about the island’s rich history. If you are staying for more than a day there are a number of facilities that offer accommodation. If you are feeling adventurous you could stay in one of the lighthouses or even a Victorian Mansion, it might be the most unique place you ever sleep in.
Getting around the island has become a lot easier over the years with several additional features that make it suitable for persons in wheelchairs or those with limited abilities. Additionally, a Lundy visit is perfect for groups of large people such as families or children as they offer several facilities that make it easy to change babies or get around in groups.
Lundy Island Wildlife
From the moment you step onto the boat to get to Lundy, you’ll be greeted by the amazing natural wildlife on the island. Due to Lundy Island’s location near the Atlantic Ocean and the British channel, it has created one of kind environment for a unique collection of species and wildlife. Admittedly the most popular wildlife on the island are Puffins (after which the island’s namesake is derived) and the Manx Shear waters. The puffin populating decreased for some period due to the increase in their natural predators the brown and black rats and also due to a decrease in their food source, the sand eel. These days however, the population has been stable, making Lundy Island a popular destination for bird watchers.
In addition to the puffins, there are several unique species such as the black-legged kittiwake, guillemot, herring gull and many others with an estimate of over 300 bird species. Other animals on the island include the Lundy pony which are strongly built as a result of living in the harsh environment on the island. In spite of this Lundy ponies are incredibly friendly and are a popular treat for kids visiting the island. However, there is much more wildlife to see if you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of a sheep, rabbit, goat, deer or even the pygmy shrew.
Lundy Island Activities
Depending on your interests, there are several leisurely activities you can pursue during your Lundy visit. One of the most treasured activities on the island is climbing the famous Devil’s slide. There are as many as 60 routes that one can take that offer a challenging but unparalleled opportunity to witness the natural beauty of the island. The cliffs of Lundy are also popular as the breeding sites for many seabirds; therefore there are strict regulations in place to ensure that climbers do not disturb the birds. For those tourists looking for less strenuous activities, you may be interested in the walking trail on the island. Starting out at the Marisco Tavern, the walk takes you around the island ending at the lighthouse. This trail gives you a chance to witness breathtaking views of the cliffs and also allows you to stop by some ancient keepsakes such as the church, old cottages and the local quarry.
On the path you will get a chance to see some of the natural flora and fauna and even stop by to see the cute puffins by Jenney’s cove and the Devil’s Chimney. One of the most spectacular ways to experience Lundy is to go sea diving. Here you can see firsthand view of the magnificent grey seals that are graceful and adept swimmers. In addition seals have become extremely interested in the human presence on the island and have been known to approach divers in a playful manner.
A visit to Lundy Island is an experience you will find hard to forget. From the sweeping views of the cliffs to the intricate castles and rich history there is much to get lost in. Due to the development on the island, visiting Lundy would make a perfect day trip or be suitable for overnight stay. Whether you are interested in the natural vegetation or the wildlife, there is bound to be something to catch your interest. Many people prefer to get lost in the simple activities like walking, fishing, diving or climbing. A Lund island trip is a perfect getaway for the family and a great way to immerse yourself in the rich culture of the island.
Lundy Island is one of North Devon’s most charming attractions, and certainly its most remote. This coastal nature reserve is more than just a refuge for endangered wildlife; it’s the ideal stop for visitors to Ilfracombe to take a load off, unwind and immerse themselves in the beauty of seaside nature. It is also reachable at almost anytime of the year, which makes it attractive to serious and informal nature lovers.
The History of Lundy Island
Visiting Lundy Island lets you immerse yourself in a proud (and interesting) history. Once home to Vikings and a port for Barbary pirates, Lundy Island gets its name from the Puffins that dwell there. ‘Lundy’ translates to ‘Puffin’, hence the full translation of ‘Puffin Island’. King Charles I also claimed this island as an outpost at one time, but Lundy Island’s early history is mostly that of piracy and smuggling.
One fascinating story from the 18th century includes the rather sinister story of the Sheriff of Devon who diverted both convicts and minerals to the island, when they should have been delivered safely to their proper destination. Its just so happens that the Sheriff was also the local MP for Barnstaple. Our modern MP’s are frequently getting into trouble over expenses and their probity, but insurance swindles and modern slavery haven’t made recent headlines.
After the island was purchased by Gloucestershire businessman William Hudson Heaven in 1834, it moved through a series of owners until finally being purchased by the National Trust and made into a nature reserve for visitors to enjoy. Over the years, more animals have been introduced to the island and have become willing inhabitants that visitors love to see.
Visiting Lundy Island
Small as the island may be, there’s plenty to do on this coastal getaway. Visitors to Lundy Island are encouraged to indulge in every activity there is on Lundy Island, many of which are family-friendly.
You’ll discover the wonder of birdwatching when you visit Lundy Island and take in the scenery, spying on Skylarks, Puffins and Water Rail. Lundy Island boasts over 140 species of birds that flock to the island each year. Birdwatching can be done any time of year, so don’t worry about having to stick to a schedule.
The ocean is an amazing place to explore, but you’ve never really seen it until you’ve been fully submersed in it. Lundy Island trips should all have time for a good diving session in order to explore the vast array of marine life just offshore. An astonishing 2500 species can be found amongst the coral reefs, which are host to all five types of British cup coral. Divers will get a spectacular treat when booking for a guided tour of one of Lundy Island’s many shipwrecks.
If you’re fortunate, you may just get to interact with the island’s Grey Seals. Seals have grown quite accustomed to human visitors in their ocean environment, and many are playful enough to swim directly up to you. However, visitors are not allowed to touch the seals, but rather observe them as they are in their ocean home.
Lundy Island may be a nature reserve, but many areas on the island’s coast allow angling. The condition is that you only keep sustainable catches. In other words, if the fish isn’t the minimum size or bigger according to guidelines, it must be returned. If fishing isn’t your style, but you’d still like to see the different species of fish around the island, you can always book a snorkelling trip for some casual viewing opportunities.
Jagged cliffs and sheer drops on Lundy Island’s coast are the ideal place for climbers to find a challenge. One cliff face is so challenging, in fact, that it’s been named The Devil’s Slide. It consists of a sheer angled slab of cliff that one man was so eager to climb that he did so in a hailstorm. Devil’s Slide is open all year round, but there are over 60 other climbing spots that offer just as much of a challenge to less seasoned climbers.
Every other attraction on Lundy Island must be reached by walking. Don’t worry – Lundy Island has a beautiful landscape that will help you while away the time between monuments, caves and other sights. Wartime relics dot the countryside of Lundy Island, along with inlets, buttresses and the remnants of the old quarry railroad. A unique cabbage plant that’s exclusive to Lundy Island can be found along the way.
Getting to Lundy Island
Being an island there is clearly only two ways to get to Lundy; by sea or air. The latter is made by helicopter but most travellers opt for the two-hour boat ride through the waters of the Bristol Channel. The Island’s ferry is known as the MS Oldenburg, refurbished in 1986 at Appledore and originally built in Germany in 1958. A modest vessel that carries up to 270 passengers on its sun deck, interior lounges with shop and café bar. The helicopter journey of just 7 minutes, is made at times when the Oldenburg is unable to sail (the winter months and in stormy seas at other times).
For the diving and fishing experience, book local private charter boats from Ilfracombe harbour which make the journey to Lundy for some truly spectacular, eventful and memorable days.
But however you choose to visit Lundy Island, you’re sure to find new sights to explore daily.