Considering that the Old Lundy Island Lighthouse has been deactivated for the past 118 years, it’s amazing that the 1820 lighthouse is still in such outstanding condition.
Lundy is the largest island in the Bristol Channel. It lies 12 miles off the coast of Devon, England, about a third of the distance across the channel from Devon, England to south Wales.
For many years Lundy was a privately owned island. In 1954, the owner of the island, Martin C. Harman, issued postage stamps to help defray the cost of mail to and from the island. Three of the four stamps that he issued featured the Old Lundy Lighthouse.
In 1968, Lundy was put up for sale and purchased by Jack Hayward, a British millionaire who then gave it to England’s National Trust, which in turn leased it to the Landmark Trust that has managed the island since then, deriving its income from arranging day trips and renting out vacation accommodations. It is estimated that the island, which is only accessible by boat, is visited by over 20,000 people each year.
In 2007, Lundy had a resident population of 28 people, including volunteers. Those included a warden, ranger, island manager, and farmer, as well as bar and house-keeping staff. Most live in and around the village at the south of the island.
The height of the Old Lundy Lighthouse is what led to the discontinuance of the beacon. It seems that the top of the lighthouse was often shrouded in fog. When the old Lundy Lighthouse was discontinued in 1897, it was replaced by two much shorter lighthouses, one on the south extremity of the island and the other on the north extremity of the island.
Today, visitors to the island can climb to the top of the 95-foot tall Old Lundy Lighthouse and rent out of the former keepers’ homes.
This story appeared in the
Sep/Oct 2015 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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