Lundy Island wildlife walk
Prepare for a ramble around this alluring granite outcrop in the Bristol Channel, taking in seals and the iconic puffin. Don't forget to pack some binoculars for a spot of wildlife watching; you can add any interesting sightings to the wildlife logbook in the Marisco Tavern. Please note that Lundy is only open to day visitors from April to October. Lundy is financed, administered and maintained by the Landmark Trust.
Marisco Tavern, grid ref: SS140440
From outside the Marisco Tavern, head east through the kissing gate, along the footpath and through a second gate towards Millcombe House. As you reach the house take a sharp left up the hill towards the upper footpath, heading along the eastern part of the island.
If you're into wildlife spotting then Lundy is the place to be; with only 27 people living on the island the isolation here has created the perfect habitat for all types of animals, such as sika deer, wild goats and the only native mammal, the pygmy shrew. The sheltered part of the island near Millcombe House is home to songbirds, such as chaffinches and stonechats. During the height of summer, butterflies, such as the red admiral, can be seen fluttering near the footpath.
This stretch of the walk commands some spectacular views and is slightly undulating, with an old stone wall to your left and the scrub sloping away to the cliffs.
The warm waters around Lundy are home to an array of marine life. Brightly coloured corals cover the rocky ledges, including sunset cup corals, pink sea fans and sponges. Keep an eye out for the occasional basking shark in summer and resident grey seals enjoying the sun on the rocks at low tide. There have also been several sightings of Orcas (killer whales) in the area over the years.
By keeping along this route you'll eventually come to the ruins of Quarterwall cottages and the old quarry. If you follow the stony path past the pond you will reach the quarry timekeeper's hut; a good place for a rest and to take in the sea air. Keep on down to the flat quarry platform where the route now follows the old quarry railway north, which transported the quarried stone for collection by boats.
The ruins of Quarterwall cottages, the old quarry and hospital (pictured) are remnants of a time when Lundy was a hive of activity for six short years in 1863 with the establishment of the Lundy Granite Co. Ltd.
Turn left up the hill, heading for the main road that dissects the island. You're now at Halfway Wall and you can wander further afield to the north of Lundy, with its one remaining house and the wilder part of the island.
Cut across westwards towards Jenny's Cove and the Devil's Chimney. It's here that you can catch a glimpse of puffins.
Look out for Lundy's most famous resident, the puffin. You'll need patience and a good eye though, as a decline in the population has left only a few pairs occupying the sheer cliffs, along with a host of other seabirds, including guillemots and razorbills.
Now head south along the western side of the island towards Old Light. Walk through the area known as The Earthquake, where the rock opened up into great chasms in 1755, at the same time as the Lisbon earthquake. Once you reach Old Light, head back along the track and turn left back towards the tavern for some well-earned refreshments.
Old Light was built in 1819 but was replaced by two new lighthouses on the north and south of the island in 1897. It's well worth climbing the 145 steps to the top for a panoramic view across the island. Beacon Hill cemetery beneath it has Latin-inscribed standing stones dating back to the 5th century.
Marisco Tavern, grid ref: SS140440
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