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Wildlife-rich island to be given protection for 50 more years

Lundy Island, off the Devon coast, is home to many seabirds and a unique cabbage variety.

Puffins stay close to their burrows among the cliff faces on Lundy island (Ben Birchall/PA)
Puffins stay close to their burrows among the cliff faces on Lundy island (Ben Birchall/PA)

By Rod Minchin, PA

A remote island off the Devon coast that has been transformed into a rich oasis of wildlife will be protected for another 50 years.

Lundy Island is now home to a rich array of more than 21,000 seabirds including puffins and Manx shearwater after a concerted effort to eradicate rats on the rocky outpost.

More than 200 breeding Atlantic grey seals also swim off the shores of the island, that was gifted to the National Trust in 1969.

At that time wildlife was struggling, but the charity joined forces with the Landmark Trust, who took over the day-to-day running of the island in the same year.

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Guillemots nest on cliff edges (Ben Birchall/PA)

Since then, both organisations have done an enormous amount of work to protect and enhance Lundy’s wildlife and heritage.

The island will now be protected for another 50 years once a new lease is signed this autumn, marking a new milestone in Lundy’s story.

The 50-year lease solidifies each organisation’s commitment to continuing to care for Lundy, ensuring its special character and the experience which so many cherish can continue for the next half century.

In 2010 the sea around Lundy was designated the UK’s first marine conservation zone.

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A double crested cormorant flies close to sea level (Ben Birchall/PA)

The island, which is 12 miles off the north Devon coast, also remains home to the Lundy cabbage, the only place this type of wild brassica can be found anywhere in the world.

Over 18,000 people visit the island each year on holiday or on a day trip.

Rob Joules, from the National Trust, said: “Lundy is very special, and we now see people returning again and again to quietly soak up the unspoilt nature of the place on a day trip, or to stay a while.

“But to future proof Lundy we must continue to find new ways to protect and monitor its rare plant and animal life, and also make it more self-sufficient in its water supplies, waste management and energy sourcing.

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A seagull flies past guillemots (Ben Birchall/PA)

“Lundy is exposed to the elements, and the impact of climate change must be addressed into the future.”

Derek Green, Lundy general manager, added: “We’re thrilled to be signing the new lease, especially at such a pivotal point in Lundy’s long history.

“The island offers a rare experience: large enough to have a life of its own, which visitors can share and enjoy, but small and far away enough to be a world apart.”

PA

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