75 years caring for Baggy Point

The Hyde family gifted Baggy Point to the National Trust in 1939 © National Trust / Steve Mulbery

The Hyde family gifted Baggy Point to the National Trust in 1939

Latest update 09.05.2014 15:33

Baggy Point near Croyde in North Devon is a stunning headland which is owned, managed and protected by the National Trust. On 4 May 1939, we were given Baggy Point by the Hyde family.

The Hydes

Edwin Hyde and his two sisters, Connie and Florence, lived on this dramatic headland before generously leaving it to the Trust. Since then, the site has been carefully managed to balance the needs of the wildlife and the 70,000 people a year who visit it for its breathtaking views over the sandy beaches of North Devon and across to Lundy Island.

There are still plenty of signs of the past lives of the Hydes, including the handsome farm buildings. The freshwater pond was built as an extension to their garden and was home to many mallard ducks during the Second World War (although they all apparently mysteriously disappeared during the American occupation).

The Hydes were also fond of fishing and boating and created a natural slipway and a small sheltered harbour by digging away the hard rocks at the base of the cliffs.  You can still spot where a winch was once housed, which enabled the family to haul their boats up high out of the worst of the winter storms.

An extract from the North Devon Journal of 11 May 1939 reads: 'It is announced that Misses Constance and Florence Hyde of Baggy Point, Croyde, have presented to the Trust the whole of Baggy Point. The property is of some 240 acres. Baggy Point is a bold headland and forms the southern arm of the bay of Morte Bay. Misses Hyde are sisters of Sir Charles Hyde, the well-known newspaper proprietor. They are well-known for their support of local charitable objects.'

Our work today

Since then, the ranger team and volunteers have enjoyed managing the site. At this time of year, the careful management starts to pay off as the coastal flowers spring to life. Pink thrift, yellow kidney vetch, white sea campion, wild carrot, heather and autumn squill carpet the steep cliff slopes while peregrines, kestrels, stonechats, Dartford warblers, linnets, shag, cormorants and oystercatchers love the mix of habitats.

The tranquility and natural beauty of this lovely headland was enhanced in 2009 when the Trust undertook a large project to bury overhead cables.

'We managed to contribute £50,000 and raised a further £28,000 through the generosity of local residents and a grant application. This allowed us to remove almost all of the unsightly power and BT cables and preserve the headland for future generations,' said Jonathan Fairhurst, Head Ranger for the North Devon countryside.

Here's to the next 75 years of beautiful Baggy Point.