- The island, lying north
and south, acts as a gigantic Breakwater during the prevalent
westerly winter gales. In bad weather over a hundred
vessels have anchored at the
same time in Lundy Roads.Lundy is a huge rock of granite just
over 3 miles long, and about mile broad, with cliffs rising almost
perpendicularly from the sea to a height of from 400 to 500 feet.
The total area is 1,044 acres. The present owner is Mr. M. C.
Harman, who purchased the property in 1925.
The soil is light, and only a small part of the island is under
cultivation, but about a quarter of the area is permanent pasture,
sheep and cattle being reared, while the rest is moorland. Lobsters
are caught in large quantities.
Fresh water is supplied in abundance by the springs. Snow and ice
are practically unknown.
Botanically Lundy is of great interest, wild flowers growing in
great number and variety.
Brassicella Wrightii, named after its discoverer, Dr. Elliston
Wright of Braunton, is a plant found nowhere else in the world, and
it is supposed to be the ancestor of all the brassicella (cabbage)
on the mainland. The fauna, too, is remarkable.
Rat Island, an island of about an acre situated off the southeast
point, was for many years one of the few remaining strongholds of
the black rat, and is also the home of trapdoor spiders, found
nowhere else in or round the United Kingdom.
Rabbits are believed to have been introduced to England from Lundy,
the first documentary reference dating from about AD1200. Ponies of
an excellent type are numerous, and also red, Japanese and fallow
deer, and wild goats. Seals breed on and are frequently seen in
great numbers near Lundy, and one small cove is known as the Sealsí
Hole. The birds, past and present, are intensely interesting. The
late Major C. Noel Clarke, who carried out extensive research into
the history of the Great Auk, stated that Lundy was its last
authoritative breeding place (1841).
The proprietor has instituted very strict measures to preserve the
many rare birds which nest in the island at the present time, the
peregrine falcon, cormorant, puffin and oyster-catcher, regarded as
rarities in other parts of the British Isles, being common on Lundy.
There are no snakes, frogs or toads on the island, tradition
crediting St. Patrick with having stayed there en route for Ireland.
In a cliff at the south-west corner there is a curious funnel-shaped
cavity, about 370 feet deep, called the Devilís Lime Kiln, at the
bottom of which are two small passages leading to the sea. Close at
hand is a huge conical-shaped rock called Shutter Rock, near which
the battleship Montagu. practically a new vessel, was wrecked in
1906, a loss to the country of nearly £2,000,000. The rock is
referred to in Westward Ho!
Lying off the north end of Lundy is a cluster of rocks called the
Hen and Chickens. Vessels give these a wide berth.
In the same neighbourhood, but on the island, is the Constable
Rook. On the east side is the Templar Rock, which bears a marvellous
resemblance to the human face.