Lundy Island House Party - 31st October to 4th November 2013
The tourists have departed and this autumn holiday begins with a night in The Hoops Inn & Country Hotel, a delightful idyll situated between Bideford and Clovelly. This gives us the opportunity to meet up with our fellow travellers and make the leisurely journey to the Heliport for our flight to Lundy the following morning.
From Hartland point, we take the spectacular seven minute flight to Lundy Island. Lundy Island was bought for the nation by the National Trust in 1969 and is now operated by Landmark Trust who manage and maintain the island. It has lovingly restored its buildings to create some of the most attractive holiday houses in the country. This unique island lies 10 miles off the North Devon coast where the Atlantic meets the Bristol Channel with nothing between it and America, a granite outcrop three miles long and half a mile wide. In the hubbub of the modern world it is a place apart, peaceful and unspoilt and a great place to get away from it all. Lundy has always been known for the variety of its birdlife and is an important staging post for the spring and autumn migrations, and one of the most significant seabird breeding areas in the South West.
We have timed our visit for the autumn when the colours should be at their best. This avoids the large numbers of day visitors that are attracted to the island from April to mid October when the boat operates a two hour passage from Ilfracombe.
Today only a few people live on the island. They work the farm, self-catering properties and all the other facilities, including the Marisco Tavern and island shop. The Tavern is where we have dinner each evening and forms the focal point for the island. Their restaurant offers a good selection of beers and wine and the menu has a special Lundy flavour and an imaginative selection of dishes, including a vegetarian choice.
Day 1 - Thursday 31 October 2013 - North Devon
We arrive at the Hotel, during the afternoon for an overnight stay, with optional dinner. There is time to relax and meet the rest of the group before departing for Lundy on the following morning.
Day 2 - Friday 1 November 2013 - Travel to Lundy (BD)
After breakfast we travel to Bideford for Hartland point. Arriving by 10.00am, we check in at the heliport, having parked our cars in the secure heliport car park (small parking charge). We depart for Lundy Island at 11.00am, with a flight time of 7 minutes. On a clear day the views are spectacular so keep your camera handy.
We check in to our accommodation, where our luggage is delivered to us. Optional light lunch at Marisco Tavern.
In the evening there's a welcome reception followed by 3 course dinner at Marisco Tavern.
Days 3 and 4 - Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 November 2013 (BD)
Breakfast items consisting of tea, coffee, milk, bread, eggs, bacon, butter, jam/marmalade, fruit juice, fresh fruit etc will be delivered to each of the houses for home cooked breakfast.
A three course dinner each evening is served at Marisco Tavern.
Activities over the two days include a presentation about the island and a guided walk by the Warden, self-guided walks and optional bird watching. Other things to do include painting, archaeology, geology and discovering the uniqueness of Lundy's flora and fauna. One unusual and interesting activity is "letterboxing" - using map coordinates and clues to find hidden treasure boxes around the island leading you to spectacular views and ancient sites around the island. One of the attractions of Lundy is its tranquillity and time should be allowed to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of this delightful island away from the modern world.
Day 5 - Monday 4 November 2013 (B)
After a leisurely breakfast our luggage will be collected and delivered to the air strip for loading on to the helicopter for the 7 minute flight to Hartland Point, arriving at 14.00pm.
B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner
Our accommodation on the first night will be at Hoops Inn and Country Hotel, conveniently located between Bideford and Clovelly, and close to the heliport at Hartland Point, from where we embark on our flight to Lundy the following morning.
Lundy Island has 23 self-catering houses and we have reserved two of the best on the island; Government House and Millcombe House for our exclusive use. Both have an adequate number of bathrooms, delightful lounge with open fireplace, kitchen, dining room and central heating.
Government House, although a completely new building, is in a sheltered position on the top of Millcombe Valley. Accommodation consists of one double, one twin and one single bedroom with two bathrooms and an additional toilet.
Millcombe House looks down a wooded valley and out to sea. This elegant house built in 1835 in classical style has a pleasing sociable feel to it, planned around a central hall on the ground floor and central staircase above.
Flights are operated by Castle Air and the usual helicopter is an Agusta 109.
No doubt we will travel in convoy to the airfield, but here are the instructions to get you there, just in case! The heliport at Hartland Point is about 20 miles west of Bideford. From Bideford, take the A39 signposted for Bude and travel along until you reach Clovelly Cross. Just after this turning, turn right, signposted Hartland. Follow the road for about 2 miles and look for a "Y" junction. Take the fork signposted for Hartland Point and Lighthouse. Turn right at the "T" junction and follow the road to Blagdon Farm where you will find a wooden kiosk where car parking tickets are issued. The Postcode for Blagdon Farm is EX396AU.