Trusts celebrate 40 years on Lundy Island

LUNDY ISLAND - the jewel in Devon s crown - reaches a landmark in history when it celebrates 40 years of management by the Landmark Trust and ownership by the National Trust. The National Trust picked up a bargain when it bought Lundy for �150,000 in 196

LUNDY ISLAND - the jewel in Devon's crown - reaches a landmark in history when it celebrates 40 years of management by the Landmark Trust and ownership by the National Trust.

The National Trust picked up a bargain when it bought Lundy for �150,000 in 1969 after a national appeal to save the island was launched by local MPs Jeremy Thorpe and Sir Peter Mills.

The Trust was able to buy the tiny island thanks to a donation from Sir Jack Hayward, the owner of Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club.

It has proved to be money well spent. Forty years on, and Lundy - which sits some nine miles off the North Devon coast - is thriving both economically and environmentally.


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As part of the purchase, the Landmark Trust took over the day-to-day management of Lundy and between them, the two charities have run the island with its unique environment in mind.

For such a small place - Lundy is three miles long and half a mile wide - the island is big when it comes to its environmental importance.

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The waters around Lundy are England's only Marine Nature Reserve and the UK's first No Take Zone - where fishing is banned to protect corals and other marine life.

Lundy is the only place in the UK where you can find all five British species of shallow water cup coral.

The island itself has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) with more than 40 scheduled monuments, making it one of most important sites for archaeology in the South West of England.

The cliffs are home to the largest seabird colony in the South West, with puffins, kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills, shags, fulmars and Manx shearwaters.

Around 140 different species of birds are recorded on Lundy each year, with up to 35 species nesting on the island. And if you visit Lundy, there's every chance you'll spot an Atlantic grey seal basking in the coastal waters - there is a resident population of around 100.

Dolphins and porpoise are spotted regularly with basking sharks a frequent summer visitor, exotic sunfish and even the occasional whale and orca have been spotted.

Around 20,000 visitors head to Lundy each year. Most of them go for the day, travelling by the island's very own supply ship, MS Oldenburg bought by the Landmark Trust in 1985.

The Trust also introduced a successful winter helicopter service in 2003 to ensure visitors can stay on the island during the roughest of winter weather and enjoy its atmosphere allyear round culminating with very traditional Christmas Day celebrations without the commercial hype and a wonderful New Yearcelebration in the island's Marisco Tavern.

Today, Lundy is visited by divers, climbers, bellringers, birdwatchers, ramblers, radio hams, photographers, - the list is endless as the island provides something for everyone. Lundy Letterboxing a popular family pastime.

Visitors on holiday stay in the island's 23 self catering holiday accommodation buildings, carefully and tastefully restored by the Landmark Trust over the past 40 years, including a lighthouse and an old castle which are quickly booked up by people wanting to get away from it all. The island also has a small campsite to cater for those on a tighter budget.

The heart of the Island is the Marisco Tavern which caters for visitors and residents alike with reasonably priced wholesome food using the island's famous Lundy Lamb and other island produce. The island also has a working farm, fantastic church, and a post office-shop, selling Lundy's unique stamps.

Lundy is a car-free island (apart from the essential work vehicles), with the island generating its own electricity, which is usually switched off at midnight to conserve supplies.

The Landmark Trust has been instrumental in installing the vital infrastructure to provide the electricity and water, caught from rainfall and treated before being piped to the island properties.

Over the last 40 years, the Trust has also ensured that the islands access has been secured by building a jetty in 1999 to assist with unloading both passengers and vital supplies. The only access road from the beach to the village shas also had its future secured.

All the island tasks are carried out by the 27 staff - including the fire and rescue duties, search and rescue cover and medical assistance.

Privilege

Lundy general manager, Derek Green said: "It is a rare privilege to manage such a unique place with such a dedicated team of staff who work hard to protect and preserve this special place for others to enjoy.

"And this year in particular, whether they work on the island, ship or shore office, they have ensured by working closely together that Lundy is going to enjoy a successful season despite the effects of the recession and they are to be applauded for this.

"Lundy really is a world apart and it takes people with special qualities to be able to manage it carefully"

This way of managing the island has helped to protect its uniqueness, according to the two Trusts.

Director of the Landmark Trust, Peter Pearce, said: "It is only thanks to our 40-year partnership with the National Trust that the many thousands of people from all walks of life who visit Lundy and stay there each year can still do so now.

"The Landmark Trust counts its work on Lundy as one of its greatest ever achievements."

Fiona Reynolds, director general of the National Trust, hailed the 40-year partnership as a great success.

She added: "Above all, thanks to the careful management of the Landmark Trust, it has the most amazing atmosphere.

"Its sheer cliffs and springy turf, wild winds and shady suntraps, characterful houses, the Oldenburg and the friendly pub and shop all add up to an essence that is Lundy.

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