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One of the many spectacular views off the West coast of Lundy Island
One of the many spectacular views off the West coast of Lundy Island

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Route No. 422 - Tuesday 7 June 2011
Lundy Island, Threequarter Wall circuit - 8km
Bristol Channel
North Devon Coast . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 139 Bideford, Ilfracombe & Barnstaple


Queueing to board the Lundy Island ferry at Bideford
Queuing to board the Lundy Island ferry at Bideford

Fishing boats were coming up river on the tide as we left
Fishing boats were coming up river on the tide as we left

At 9.30am we set off down the River Torridge estuary past Appledore and out into the Bristol Channel. There was a strong southwesterly wind and ominous shower clouds about. The estuary had been quite calm but now the sea was choppy and the ferry rolled and pitched and we were both feeling pretty queasy. The crossing took two hours and was not very pleasant. Many people were "unwell" during the crossing.

This week my wife and I are staying in a holiday cottage in the village of Appledore on the North Devon Coast. This morning we drove a couple of miles to Bideford and queued at the Lundy Ferry office to collect our tickets for the MS Oldenburg. There were many people who were going to stay in one of the cottages on this National Trust owned island. Their baggage was being loaded into large wooden crates to be ferried to the island.

Leaving Bideford for Lundy Island
Leaving Bideford for Lundy Island

The jetty on Lundy Island
The jetty on Lundy Island

The jetty on Lundy Island
The jetty on Lundy Island

Start of the climb up from the jetty
Start of the climb up from the jetty

The track climbing up from the jetty
The track climbing up from the jetty

The church on Lundy Island
The church on Lundy Island

There was a church, a farmstead, a shop, artists workshops and a collection of old and new holiday accommodation, and even a pub. We set off for a walk around part of the island along the main track from the farm heading northwards along the island.

When we landed at the jetty on Lundy the rain had stopped and we were in the lee of the island so once we were back on dry land everything suddenly seemed a lot better. The whole island is a nature reserve. There was a long climb up about 120m (400ft) along a wide track cut into the cliff face to a settlement on the island plateau.

The track climbing up from the jetty
The track climbing up from the jetty

The track climbing up from the jetty
The track climbing up from the jetty

Pony at the top of the climb up from the jetty
Pony at the top of the climb up from the jetty

Setting off along the track North from the settlement
Setting off along the track North from the settlement
Gloucester Old Spot pigs at the farm on Lundy
Gloucester Old Spot pigs at the farm on Lundy

Sheep pasture by the track going North
Sheep pasture by the track going North

Soay Sheep beyond the Quarter Wall
Soay Sheep beyond the Quarter Wall

Beyond the wall the open heathland stretches out to the north of the island. Just beyond the wall is a pretty little pond. We stood there to look at the view all around us before continuing along the track northwards.

The track led us through the fields where sheep were grazing for about 1km to the Quarter Wall. This is the end of the cultivated pasture.

The track heading North along the island
The track heading North along the island

The track heading North along the island
The track heading North along the island

Pond by the Halfway Wall
Pond by the Halfway Wall

Approaching the Halfway Wall
Approaching the Halfway Wall

They were not very cooperative when I tried to take their photo.

There were Soay Hebridean sheep in two's and three's scattered over this area.

Soay sheep on the Eastern cliff top
Soay sheep on the Eastern cliff top

Looking back to the jetty from our lunch stop near Tibbett
Looking back to the jetty from our lunch stop near Tibbett

Approaching the house at Tibbett's
Approaching the house at Tibbett's

Approaching the Threequarter Wall
Approaching the Threequarter Wall

We found a sheltered spot down the slope on the eastern side of Tibbet's to sit for our lunch with an amazing view along the cliffs to the jetty where we had landed. After our lunch we followed a track from Tibbett's to the gate in the Threequarters Wall.

Away to our left was a large lake with a great many gulls around it. We continued along the track to the Halfway Wall. Beyond the wall at the top of a rise was a building with a circular wall around it. This is called Tibbett's and seems to be a holiday cottage - what a location!

Track from Tibbett's to the Threequarter Wall
Track from Tibbett's to the Threequarter Wall

Our first view of the West coast
Our first view of the West coast

Following the Threequarter Wall out to the West coast of Lundy Island
Following the Threequarter Wall out to the West coast of Lundy Island

Rock formations by the cliff top path
Rock formations by the cliff top path

One of the many spectacular views off the West coast of Lundy Island
One of the many spectacular views off the West coast

Rock formations by the cliff top path
Rock formations by the cliff top path

More rock formations on the West coast
More rock formations on the West coast

Rounded rock collumns on the West coast
Rounded rock columns on the West coast

We did not cross this wall but instead we took the path following the wall westwards to join the path heading southwards along the cliff tops on the western side of the island. The scenery was amazing with the contorted bedding planes of the rocks giving rise to all manner of shapes in the cliffs. The sea was driven by the south westerly winds into a mass of boiling surf on the rocks below. I got carried away taking far too many photos, lots of them not good at all. We made our way back along the cliff tops with frequent stops just to look down at the images of the sea and surf and rocks below us.

Rock formations by the cliff top path
Rock formations by the cliff top path

Looking North up the West coast of Lundy Island
Looking North up the West coast of Lundy Island

Cliff top path along the West coast
Cliff top path along the West coast

Rounded rock collumns on the West coast
Rounded rock columns on the West coast

Looking North up the West coast of Lundy Island
Looking North up the West coast of Lundy Island

Ewe and lambs on the cliff top
Ewe and lambs on the cliff top

The Old Lighthouse
The Old Lighthouse

The path led us to the main settlement passing the helicopter landing area on our right near the church.

After about 3km we came to the Old Lighthouse. We followed the path around the south side of the lighthouse.

A last look at the rocky West coast of the island
A last look at the rocky West coast of the island

Ponies near the main settlement
Ponies near the main settlement

Helicopter on the Lundy Island landing pad
Helicopter on the Lundy Island landing pad

Start of the long descent to the ferry at the jetty
Start of the long descent to the ferry at the jetty

There was not enough water in the River Torridge to return to Bideford at that state of the tide and we were all returned to Bideford by coach from Ilfracombe (included in the ferry fare). What a fabulous day out despite the rather queasy start.

From the settlement we retraced our steps down the long descent back to the jetty where people were already starting to board the ferry. Our walk had been about 8km and it had taken us three and a half hours to walk with our frequent stops. The ferry left at 4.15pm and took us to its scheduled stop at Ilfracombe.

Looking back to the cliffs of Lundy Island as we left on the ferry to Ilfracombe
Looking back to the cliffs of Lundy Island as we left on the ferry to Ilfracombe