Virtual Tour of Lundy

Members attending the February Open Meeting of Bude & District U3A were happily taken on a tour of Lundy Island but without ever leaving the Parkhouse Centre or taking a boat or helicopter to get them there. They were treated to a ‘Virtual Tour of Lundy’ by the speaker, Simon Dell, who, using slides and drawing on his many years of experience as a Lundy Ambassador / Guide, brought the ‘tour’ and the island to life for his audience.

The well-attended meeting began with Chairman, Tina Hyndman, running through the Notices before Simon Dell’s virtual tour got underway. U3A members thoroughly appreciated the absorbing talk which was much more than a virtual walk around the island, with Simon also sharing information on the history, marine life, and flora and fauna of Lundy, all frequently interspersed with humour. Simon Dell is a guide on Lundy and Dartmoor and has written several books about both places

Lundy Island is one mile wide and three miles long, situated 10 miles off Hartland Point, and accessible via boat – the Oldenburg – from Bideford or Ilfracombe, and by helicopter in winter. Lundy got its name from Viking marauders and means ‘Puffin Island’, explained Simon. There are currently more than a thousand Puffins on the island, although at one time they were close to extinction, thanks to the then-resident rat colony. There is also a large population of Manx Shearwaters, Cormorants and other sea birds.

The island is now owned by the National Trust and is in turn leased to the Landmark Trust who are responsible for the care and administration of Lundy. It is visited by around 16,000 people each year for its unique situation and for scientific research. Some 23 people live there.

During the scenic virtual walk, Simon pointed out various landmarks, including the old lighthouse, Marisco Castle, Bensen’s Cave, the Battlements, and the Limekiln, among others, before continuing into the village which has a church, a pub, a general store and an ancient graveyard.

There are also special animals to be seen, including a breed of ponies unique to Lundy, Soay sheep, goats and about 60 deer. Look over the cliffs and you may see a basking shark or a grey seal, and below the waves there are striking corals to be found. The island is a Conservation Area and a place of special scientific interest. The Lundy Cabbage grows only here and nowhere else in the world.