As you might expect from a county with two coastlines, not all of Devon’s treasures can be found on the mainland. Did you know that Devon also has a couple of islands just off the coast that you can visit? Of course, at the moment, the UK is in lockdown, so no exploring these areas just yet, but as we can’t bring you to Devon, let us bring Devon to you, with a brief lowdown of these fascinating islands.
Perhaps Devon’s most famous island is Burgh Island on the coast of South Devon, just opposite Bigbury on Sea. The island is home to one hotel, an iconic art deco style building that takes you straight back to the 1920s. It’s a pretty cool place to explore, especially with its history – a number of politicians and a certain Mrs Christie have ties to the island, not to mention that you access it either by walking across the beach from Bigbury on Sea when the tide is out, or by riding on a sea tractor!
The hotel and island are also famous for being the inspiration behind the classic whodunit, And There There Were None!
If you’re a fan of Britain’s wildlife, no doubt Lundy Island will already be on your bucket list. This island lies off the coast of North Devon in the Bristol Channel and a visit here is a real experience. The island is managed by the Landmark Trust and the National Trust and while there are places to stay on the island, there is no electricity or phone service! Because the waters around the island, as well as the island itself, are protected as a conservation area, all activities and visits are closely monitored. You can catch a ferry or helicopter from the mainland at regular times but if you use your own vessel, you will need to contact the island manager to let them know first. There are a number of activities that you can get involved with on the island, such as diving and rock climbing, which are also monitored so not to disturb the wildlife that lives there.
The name Lundy means Puffin and the island is home to one of the UK’s largest puffin colonies, as well as other rare seabirds and even dolphins and seals!
Formerly known as St Michael’s and then St Nicholas’ Island, Drake Island is in Plymouth Sound and is thought to date back 300 million years! Its current name comes from Sir Francis Drake who once famously said: “He who holds the island, holds Plymouth.”
Experts think that the island was once an area of volcanic activity and was formed thanks to the fusing of ash and lava! Over the years, the island was initially thought to be used as a strategic defensive point by the British army and monarchy, most notably, Henry VIII used it to protect Plymouth during his various escapades. At one point it was also used as a prison and an observatory and science continues to play an important part on the island. It is a scheduled monument and a marine conservation area with plans for it to be a completely plastic free environment using renewable energy sources. It is currently privately owned and visitors can take part in guided tours, as well as paying a visit to the island’s Clairvoyant. You can even get married there!
The island is accessed via a short boat ride from Mountbatten Pier.
So, there you go! More exciting places to visit in Devon once lockdown has been lifted! As we are currently in a national lockdown, we advise against travel at this time unless for work. Exercise should be taken in your own local area, so please do not travel to Devon to do this unless you already live in the county – it will all still be there for you once restrictions are over!
To find out the latest in restrictions and government guidance, please visit gov.uk/coronavirus