The island of Lundy has been designated a 'Site of Special Scientific Interest', and the surrounding waters are protected within England’s first Marine Nature Reserve. For this new short break we’ll be based in a comfortable, restored Victoria villa from where we’ll head out on foot to enjoy colonies of auks by day, and at night, Manx Shearwaters. Flocks of Soay Sheep graze on high ground as well as Lundy Ponies, and there are various moths and butterflies on the wing at this time of year. The flora is likely to be a particular highlight, and June is the peak time for some of Lundy’s special plants to be in flower, including its only endemic plant, the Lundy Cabbage, which in turn is host to two endemic beetles! Rock Sea-spurrey and Sheep’s-bit grow on exposed western cliffs, while Balm-leaved Figwort and the scarce Wood Vetch grow on the more sheltered east side along with lush growths of ferns. Despite Lundy's small size, there is plenty to keep us interested, before settling into the characterful Marisco Tavern for our evening meals after our daily wildlife walks!
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Présente le mardi et vendredi toute la journée
Tue 2nd Jun - Sat 6th Jun - 1038€
- Accommodation: Millcombe House (shared facilities) and other National Trust cottages nearby.
- Food: All included in the price.
* These tours are operated by Naturetrek (ABTA Y6206) for which Nature et Terroir acts as agent.
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Having taken early retirement from his job teaching and running an Environmental Education Centre a few years ago, Andrew is now able to concentrate on writing, photography, lecturing and tour leading. His published works, numbering over 30 titles so far, cover a range of natural history and environmental subjects, and include field guides to Trees, Wild Flowers, Seashore Life and Birds, Biology Revision Guides and numerous articles in magazines and journals. Andrew is a frequent lecturer to National Trust and RSPB groups, and has also run courses on dormouse conservation and ecology. He is a committee member of the Lundy Field Society and is presently involved with a survey of the island's flora. He has travelled extensively, especially in Europe, and led tours for Naturetrek in various parts of the Mediterranean region and Galapagos. Andrew was appointed MBE in 1995 for services to Environmental Education.
NB. Please note that the itinerary below offers our planned programme of excursions. However, adverse weather and other local considerations can necessitate some re-ordering of the programme during the course of the tour, though this will always be done to maximise best use of the time and weather conditions available.
1 Ferry to Lundy
Today we sail from Bideford or Ilfracombe to Lundy, with the MS Oldenburg. Dates and times can vary each year and we will advise you of these when the tour becomes viable to operate. The first part of the two-hour journey takes us down the River Torridge at high tide and there is a chance of seeing some estuary birds on the way, such as Little Egret and Shelduck, and sometimes even a Peregrine on its favourite perch on the new road bridge over the river. Leaving the sheltered waters of the harbour we have our first chance of spotting Harbour Porpoise, and possibly the first seabirds of the trip, such as Razorbill and Manx Shearwater. As we approach Lundy we should look out for Common Dolphins, and more seabirds such as Gannets and Puffins. On arrival our luggage will be taken to our accommodation and we will walk up the beach road to the village, taking in Lundy’s unique plant, the Lundy Cabbage, on the way. Many other interesting plants can be found in this relatively sheltered part of the island which we will have plenty of time to re-visit. After checking in we will have a lunch break in the Marisco Tavern and then settle in to our accommodation in Millcombe House. In the afternoon we will take a gentle walk around the south end of the island, visiting the 13th Century Castle, Rocket Pole Pond and the Old Lighthouse. We will look for the Small Adder’stongue Fern here, and other coastal specialities such as Sea Storksbill and Rock Sea-spurrey. Lundy is noted for its very high population of Wheatears, but we should also find Rock and Meadow Pipits here, with Skylarks singing overhead. We take our evening meal in the Marisco Tavern. Those who feel like staying up late may want to listen out for Manx Shearwaters flying over the island, or look for moths visiting the moth trap set in the gardens of Millcombe House.
The moth traps will be checked before breakfast, and there will also be time for a quick check around the sheltered walled gardens for migrant birds. After breakfast we will prepare a simple packed lunch and then head off for a day’s exploration of the west coast of Lundy. From the Old Light, at the highest point on Lundy we will follow the west coast a short way to the Battery, a collection of buildings in a dramatic setting half-way down the cliffs, built originally to warn passing ships of their proximity to the island. No longer in use, it now serves as an excellent platform for watching sea birds in a safe location. After spending some time here we return to the top of the cliff and continue northwards, checking out the Earthquake, a large chasm in the rocks filled with ferns. We will then spend some time at Jenny’s Cove, where the main concentration of seabirds can be found. This is one of the best sites for Puffins on Lundy, and although they will be a long way below us on the cliffs or on the sea, we should see plenty of them amongst the Guillemots and Razorbills which also nest here. This will be a good spot for a picnic, weather permitting, and after a break here we will continue northwards, checking all the likely spots for nesting sea birds, and also keeping an eye on the sea for cetaceans. We will eventually reach the north end of Lundy and the lonely North Lighthouse where a long flight of steps leads down to a platform where we can get close views of more seabirds and Grey Seals. We will have to tear ourselves away from this scenic spot and return to the south of the island, this time following the undulating road across the waved heath, where there is a chance of seeing Soay Sheep, more migrant birds, moorland flora and butterflies. Our evening meal will be taken in the Marisco Tavern again, and afterwards, those with some energy may choose to wander out to the west side again to listen for the calls of the Manx Shearwaters as they return to their nest burrows.
The moth traps will be checked again, and then after breakfast we will prepare our packed lunches and this time will follow the path along the sheltered east coast of the island where there is much more vegetation, and even a few tiny copses of trees. The resident Sika Deer prefer this part of the island, and we may also see the feral Goats in precarious sites on the rocks. A few seabirds are found on the cliffs here, but this is where rare migrant birds sometimes turn up, and where the resident land birds are more likely to occur. There are several abandoned quarries here, each one with interesting features to explore and there is much evidence of the former short-lived quarry industry to be seen. We may venture down the steep path to Quarry Beach where the flora is very different from other parts of Lundy and the sheltered conditions suit butterflies such as the Grayling. Continuing along the east side, we leave the quarries and find ourselves overlooking Brazen Ward – a former Tudor fortification – where we can reach sea level. This is a good spot for a picnic on calm days, and the resident Oystercatchers may be close by here, and we are likely to be watched by Grey Seals in the water below us. Our next landmark is Gannet’s Rock, last used by nesting Gannets over 100 years ago. It is now a site for other seabirds, and we may spot a Peregrine here as well. The path takes us to the top of the island where we find John O’Groat’s house, one of the earliest buildings on Lundy. We will return to the south of the island along the top path, but make a detour to Pondsbury, the largest body of freshwater on Lundy where many dragonflies can be found, and there is often a colourful display of Heath-spotted Orchids here.
After our evening meal in the Marisco Tavern there is another chance to listen out for Manx Shearwaters and observe the moth traps, and on a clear night, marvel at the amazing clarity of the night sky, for which Lundy has special dark sky status.
After the pre-breakfast activities of moth trapping and short bird-watching walks, we will explore the beach road area and the South Lighthouse where the flora is very distinctively different from other parts of the island due to the different rock types and more sheltered conditions. If the tide permits we may also be able to look at some of the marine life for which Lundy, the site of Britain’s first Marine Nature Reserve, is very well known. We will return to the Marisco Tavern for a light lunch and then go back to the west coast once more for a final look at the seabird colonies. There is often more activity, especially from Puffins, in the late afternoon, and the light on the west of the island is more favourable at that time, so we will spend some time here watching the birds from the cliffs before we return for our final evening meal in the Tavern.
We will have to vacate Millcombe House this morning, so after breakfast our luggage will be collected and we can take our day packs with us for a final walk, probably around the south end of the island again, depending on the weather. After lunch in the Tavern we will have plenty of time to wander slowly down to the jetty to board the Oldenburg for the return journey to Ilfracombe. We get our last views of Lundy as the boat heads east back to the mainland, and we may be joined by dolphins and seabirds as we travel. The final part of the journey takes us past the dramatic cliffs of the north Devon coast before we enter the sheltered harbour at Ilfracombe where the tour ends.