The Jetty, Lundy - Credit: Michael N Maggs

Lundy to celebrate 50th anniversary with two month-long festival

Joseph Bulmer

Thursday, July 14, will mark the start of a two month-long Festival celebrating the 50th anniversary of the country's first Marine Protected Area at Lundy.

There are lots of events planned for everyone to get involved in. During the Festival there will be activities such as a Marine Bioblitz (recording all of the marine species found on the shores and in the subtidal), coastal walks, themed and interactive games, rockpool rambles and, for the really intrepid, snorkel safaris. There'll also be citizen science projects such as using the iNaturalist app on your mobile phone to record photos of marine species you encounter so experts can identify them; or, if you're a diver, inspecting the health of pink sea fans, a nationally protected species.

The Darwin Tree of Life project, overseen by staff from the Natural History Museum and the Marine Biological Association, will be on the island for the first few days of the Festival, when the island's Church will be doubling up as a 'pop-up' Marine Laboratory.

Thanks to sponsorship from the Blue Marine Foundation, we are also making a short film about the effectiveness of the MPA's No Take Zone off the island's east coast, something of particular relevance given the government's recent announcement of establishing five trial Highly Protected Marine Areas elsewhere around the English coast.

Within the MPA lie three shipwrecks of historic importance, two of which (the Iona II, a paddle steamer which sank in 1864; and a battleship HMS Montagu, which ran into the island in 1906) will be featured in special Protected Wreck Days being organised by the Nautical Archaeology Society and funded by Historic England.

A recent photogrammetry survey of the Iona II will allow the wreck to be viewed in 3-D when using Virtual Reality headsets.

The Marine Protected Area at Lundy has been a leading light in the field of marine conservation in the UK.

It was the country's first statutory Marine Nature Reserve (1986), the first to have a Zoning Scheme (1993), the first to have a No Take Zone (2003) and the first to become a Marine Conservation Zone (2010).

It has led the way in marine environmental protection and management in the UK through solid science and effective conservation work.

We look forward to welcoming you to the island to learn more about its marine life, its shipwrecks and the management of its protected waters.

Full details of what's being planned are on the Festival's website: www.lundymarinefestival.org.uk.

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