Fresh commitment to protect Lundy
Signing a new lease with the National Trust
Today Lundy is one of Britain’s most precious island havens for both wildlife and people. But 50 years ago, this remote, granite outcrop where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Bristol Channel was under threat. Not only were Lundy’s historic buildings in major disrepair, there was great public concern about its future, as it risked being acquired by a developer who might spoil it or prevent public access and enjoyment. Thankfully, in response to a national appeal, philanthropic businessman Jack Hayward bought the island for £150,000 and transferred ownership to the National Trust, who immediately leased it to the Landmark Trust. Landmark’s founders John and Christian Smith agreed to put the island on its feet and for Landmark to run it on a day-to-day basis.
Since 1969, so much has been done to protect and enhance Lundy’s wildlife and heritage, and this autumn marks a new milestone in Lundy’s story as we sign a new lease with the National Trust. The 50-year lease solidifies each organisation’s commitment to continuing to care for Lundy, ensuring its special character and the experience which so many cherish can continue for the next half century. For such a small place - just three miles long and half a mile wide - a huge amount has been achieved over the past five decades. Here are just a handful of highlights. For a detailed chronicle of Lundy’s remarkable history, you can buy the brand new Lundy guide which will be released on 29 September 2019.
Lundy's enduring magnetism
In recent years Lundy has attracted record-breaking visitors, as more and more people share the secret of Lundy’s charm. Over 18,000 people visit the island each year on holiday or on a day trip, sailing on the island’s passenger and supply ship, MS Oldenburg, or flying by helicopter during winter months. Many people see Lundy as an escape from the pace of modern life and return again and again, drawn by its mild climate and profusion of wildlife, lack of roads or streetlights.
More about Lundy
Soaring seabird population
Lundy in Norse means ‘Puffin Island’, and today it is home to the south west’s largest seabird colony, including its much-loved puffins, guillemots, razorbills and Manx shearwaters. But back in the 1990s, the breeding pairs of these birds were in crisis – largely due to predatory rats. The turning point came in 2002 when an ambitious Seabird Recovery Project was set up by the Landmark Trust, National Trust, the RSPB and Natural England. The aim was to make the island rat-free, and give the dwindling numbers of seabirds a chance. It is working: a new study has revealed that the total seabird numbers have now tripled to over 21,000 birds, with Manx shearwaters increasing to over 5,504 pairs and puffins to 375 birds.
Seabird success blog
To give extra protection into the future, in 2010 the sea around Lundy was designated the UK’s first Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ). This zone overlaps with the Special Area of Conservation that protects the island’s reefs, sea caves and sandbanks, as well as its population of around 200 breeding Atlantic grey seals. Much of the island is registered as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Lundy has around 330 different species of flowering plant, six of which are nationally scarce. Lundy Cabbage is endemic to the island, meaning that it is only found on Lundy. The island is home to around 350 different species of lichen, with 45 being considered nationally rare or scarce.
Restoration and repair
Lundy’s buildings have sheltered pirates and troops, warned ships at sea of the island’s hazardous cliffs, provided humble dwellings and an elegant family residence. A huge amount of restoration and repair work has taken place, including Landmark’s 23 self-catering properties, the fog battery and the island’s only pub, the Marisco Tavern, plus the all-important Beach Road and jetty have been built. Most recently, St Helen’s Church has been refurbished, thanks in part to a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant, and offers a new education centre and meeting places for groups such as the Cloud Appreciation Society, dementia café and Songways, a travelling choir.
Lundy's 23 Landmarks
All resources have to be brought over by ship, so we are acutely aware of consumption and waste. Earlier in the year we upgraded our water treatment plant so that we are self-sufficient by using rainwater and no longer reliant on importing 32,000 plastic bottles of water a year from the mainland. We are endeavouring to become plastic free, and ask guests to take all their plastic away with them and we recycle as much of the rest as we can.
Conservation on Lundy
The Urban Birder
Wildlife educationalist, broadcaster, writer, speaker and tour leader, David Lindo, champions Lundy’s cause as an Ambassador. Known as the Urban Birder, David’s mission is to engage city folk around the world with the environment through the medium of birds. He recently spent an enlightening few days with our brilliant wildlife warden Dean Jones, who leads a variety of different events to help visitors discover, enjoy and appreciate the island’s wildlife such as rockpool rambles and snorkel safaris. David also visited the island to record an episode of Radio 4's Open Country for Lundy's inaugural half marathon trail run.
Our Lundy Ambassador
Lundy welcomes everyone
We want everyone to be able to experience some time on Lundy. We have recently partnered with the disability charity Living Options Devon to secure two all-terrain Tramper scooters, which are available for hire by anyone who would normally find walking in the countryside a challenge, so they too can explore this beautiful island.
An accessible experience