Rising 400 feet out of the sea at the point where
the Bristol Channel meets the Atlantic is Lundy Island, an outcrop of granite
about three and a half miles long where some of Devon's richest and most varied
Island wildlife extravaganza.|
Photo - Mike Dilger
much of its history pirates ruled this rugged island outpost, located at the entrance
to the Bristol Channel.
It was once a wild and reckless place - these days
it's still considered wild, but for very different reasons.
almost due north to south, the island is unique in that it experiences two very
different sets of weather conditions, with prevailing south westerly winds sending
crashing waves into the west side and a more sheltered, peaceful haven on the
The island, with its rolling grasslands, is a Site of Special Scientific
Interest (SSSI) and the surrounding seas house England's only Marine Nature Reserve,
giving Lundy an enviable double life as a wildlife hot spot.
from birds to Basking Sharks and Sheep to Seals, there's something for everyone
and your wildlife experience begins the moment you board the boat!
the ferry visitors can enjoy an exciting aerial display from a very common and
easily recognisable bird.
Most people think of Herring Gulls as pests, having
only ever seen them pecking at rubbish and swooping at passers-by, but at Lundy
they're quite something to watch.
With their grey backs, white bellies and
black-tipped wings, Herring Gulls are one of Britain's most common birds and have
a distinctive, laughter-like call - make sure you take some bread to feed them
as they dive around the boat!
As you approach the island you can also see
loveable Grey Seals, which bask on the rocks during the summer months.
inquisitive mammals are found all around Britain's coastline and weigh up to a
tonne, with the males being slightly larger than the females.
among the rocks are a wide variety of coastal birds, one of which gave Lundy Island
is a Norse word meaning "Puffin" and at one time there were many of
these funny little birds living here, but today only 10 breeding pairs remain.
is mainly because of the introduction of rats to the island, which were brought
over by humans several centuries ago.
Rats and other scavenging vermin are
bad news for Puffins and other birds which nest on the ground, because they feed
on bird eggs and chicks.
Sadly there are nowhere near as many Puffins as
there once were, but there are plenty of other marine birds to keep them company.
can often be seen on the rocky outcrops closest to the sea, while Razorbills live
higher up on narrower ledges and smaller species like Kittiwakes and Fulmars like
to tuck themselves in right up at the top.
All these birds are best seen
during the summer months, when they land on the island to breed, but by mid-August
they'll be making their way out to sea again.
you've had your fill of sea birds, why not venture further onto the island in
search of its wild goats and ancient sheep?
Soay sheep, with their chocolatey-brown
coat and white belly, are domestic to Britain where they are found in large numbers
on the island of the same name off the coast Scotland.
Known as the most
primitive of England's domestic sheep, Soays were introduced on Lundy by Natural
England as they are known for being very hardy and able to survive in the toughest
conditions with minimal human care.
Visitors will also find feral goats
roaming around the various rocky outcrops here, while majestic Sika Deer can often
be seen on the grassy landscape.
These striking deer, with a reddish-brown
coat, white spots and four-pointed antlers, are native to Asia but were introduced
into Britain in 1860 and a good number can be found on Lundy Island.
most active at dusk and can be heard making a loud, whistling call from up to
found among the grass are Black Rabbits, which were originally brought over to
the island as a source of food.
Because the island is largely isolated from
the mainland the Black Rabbits were able to mate exclusively with the existing
rabbit population, and today about 20% of the island's rabbits are black.
species which thrives here in this enclosed environment is the rare Lundy Cabbage,
which is endemic to the island and has never been found anywhere else in the world.
inconspicuous-looking plant is a member of the cabbage family but you won't find
it in the supermarket - because it only grows on Lundy, away from the mainland,
it has evolved separately from its edible counterparts and has become a completely