Lundy Island lies off the coast of Devon in the UK. It is located where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Bristol Channel. There is archaeological evidence to demonstrate that Lundy has been inhabited since Neolithic times and it was certainly inhabited during the Bronze Age. There is a standing stone just north of Old Light, the old lighthouse, which suggests the presence of Celtic tribes on Lundy who presumably lived from fishing and basic agriculture.
The island could have been visited, or attacked by Vikings during the 8th and 9th centuries as they raided the Devon coast as well as Bristol and the Welsh coast. Later, in the 17th century it was a pirate base, as these pirates attacked ships moving up the Bristol Channel. It certainly has a colourful history.
The de Marisco family, Normans, bought Lundy in 1166 and staved off the threat of the Knights Templar to whom Henry II had granted the island. Since then the island has been owned by several families.
Today it is a peaceful haven away from the rat race. The island accommodation has no electricity after midnight, and there are no televisions, radios or telephones on the island except for a public pay phone in the island’s inn or tavern. Sometimes water is restricted. The buildings where you can stay on Lundy have been lovingly restored by experts, as have the stone walls, gates and stiles. You can stay in the old lighthouse, or an old Georgian villa, in the tavern, or in an old fisherman’s cottage. There is also Tibbets which is really for those hardy souls who need no mod-cons as it has no water or electricity. It can be romantic though as the buildings usually have open fires and stoves. There are libraries in the accommodation you can rent, and apart from the reference books relating to the flora and fauna on the island and off its coast, there is the “Smuggling in the West Country” book which is interesting!
If you want a holiday with a difference then you could consider visiting Lundy for a week. Between June and September you can go snorkeling in the waters off its coast, for £7.50 which covers the cost of hiring and maintaining the equipment. You can also take guided walks on the island all year round.
There is a regular ferry service to the island from Ilfracombe and Bideford, and in winter, between 28th October and mid-March 2013 there is a helicopter service from Hartland Point, Mondays through to Fridays. You can expect to pay £105 for a return adult fare and £55.50 for children. You will have to pay for infants too – £11.
While on Lundy you can paint, watch the wildlife including the birds (there is a puffin breeding colony on the island), paint, take photographs, ring the Church bells if you are interested in campanology, dive, go canoeing and eat the Lundy lamb. This is free of growth-promoting hormones and has a delicate taste as the lambs feed on the wild grasses and herbs such as vetches, yarrow and clover which abound on the island.
Lundy is an ecologically sensitive area and has several designations including as an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), a Nature Conservation Zone and an area of Outstanding Beauty. I have seen seals off its coast and occasionally Orcas are spotted. There could also be dolphins which you might see on a ferry ride to Lundy.
There is no land between Lundy and its granite rocks and America, so if you want to feel the sea breezes and the wild open sea, pay a visit to Lundy. You won’t be disappointed.