Lundy Island Travel Guide and Information
Lundy attracts much interest, both nationally and beyond, benefiting, as it does, from an unspoilt habitat (both land and sea) and archaeological wealth. It is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest and the UK’s first Marine Nature Reserve in 1986 and the UK’s first no-go area in 2003. It is rich in birdlife, with the iconic puffin making its return, through ongoing conservation. efforts, and supports rare lichens, including the golden-haired lichen, which lends a splash of color to coastal rocks.
Why do people come to Lundy? For the character of the island itself and the tranquility found there. For bird watching, climbing or diving; for interest in plants, fungi, lichens, or archeology and history; to walk; or just to relax with some good books.
One thing is certain – after a visit most people are taken by the Lundy spirit and return again and again to this special corner of North Devon.
What to see and do in Lundy
The wild life
While the sea and its shore teem with life, there are almost no native land mammals in Lundy. The pygmy shrew is the only one and can often be seen scurrying around properties and buildings in search of crumbs.
Until recent years, there were no reptiles on Lundy, but now slow worms are seen. There are usually plenty of rabbits, with a disproportionate number of black rabbits, which were highly prized for their skins when Lundy was a Royal Warren.
Puffins begin landing in late March, returning to their old burrows above Jenny’s Cove. After breeding, they shed their brightly colored beak coverings and spend the winter at sea. If you don’t see puffins on the cliffs around Jenny’s Cove, you can sometimes spot their characteristic flight, with flapping wings rapids, skimming the surface of the ocean or “rafting” in groups on the sea. of these fish in its specially adapted beak is the one that all puffin lovers yearn to capture.
The monuments of the city
Highlights include the graveyardwhich contains four early Christian commemorative stones dated between the 5th and 7th centuries, and the Old Lighthouse (Old Light), a disused lighthouse built at the highest point of the island in 1819. You can climb all the way to the top for wide panoramic views of the entire island and beyond. The castle overlooking the landing bay is also one of the most important buildings on the island, with its Benson’s Cave under.
Once you have visited the Lighthouse Battery continue north on an amount until halfway wallwith the large granitic formations known as Cheeses to your left. Before crossing the wall, look at the coast and to the south at the cliffs where Needle Rock comes out of the sea.
Take a walk in nature
This walk allows you to enjoy the path along the sheltered east coast, where primroses, violets and foxgloves bloom in the spring and you are (mostly) sheltered from the wind, and takes you to see puffins before you head to the tavern for a nightcap. on the way to embark Oldenburg. This will take around three hours, depending on how much time you spend watching the puffins.
From the pier, walk up the track, take the right hand path to Milcombe House which is signposted ‘Village’. Beyond the house a flight of stone steps takes you down to the village; about two-thirds of the way up those steps, look for a wooden seat and a grassy path leading to the right. It brings you closer to the cliffs, with beautiful views and splashes of color from the flowers. After about 20 minutes you will pass a towering rock face and the remains of one of the Victorian quarries, filled with water. This was stocked with goldfish by Mr. Harman and they still inhabit it today. Continue to VC Quarry and the John Harman VC Memorial. The inscription is difficult to read but there is a rubbing of it in the Tavern.
Shortly after VC Quarry there is a path, left, to the main track where you turn right and walk north towards Halfway Wall. Just after a dip in the track and before the wall, keep an eye out for a small path to the left that takes you to the remains of a German bomber. Retrace your steps to the wall, go through the door and follow the wall to the west side of the island. You are heading to Jenny’s Cove and the puffins. Upon reaching the west coast path, cross the wall again by the stile and look for a jumble of rocks overlooking the sea.
This is your puffin viewing platform; the landmark is Needle Rock, which resembles a hand emerging from the sea with a finger pointing skyward. Settle on the rocks with your binoculars and scan the lower part of the cliff for those telltale orange feet. You won’t get close to any puffins, but it’s always a treat to see Lundy’s signature bird, as well as guillemots and razorbills, which look a lot like puffins from a distance.
Keep an eye on the weather. You should allow an hour from here to the pier and you’ll probably want to stop at the tavern for a refreshment before heading to the boat.