The Guardian Wednesday September 5 2007
The future of Lundy island as a visitor attraction and one of the remotest places in the UK to live was cast in doubt yesterday as it emerged that its only road is crumbling away. Heavy rain and high seas have left the mile-long Beach Road, which winds from the jetty to the top of the granite outcrop in the Bristol Channel, in a desperate state.
An appeal to raise Â£250,000 to save the road, a lifeline for the 26 people who live and work on Lundy, has been launched. Derek Green, Lundy’s general manager, said: “Without it the future of the island as we know it today would be in doubt.” Nigel Dalby, who runs the island shop, said: “It’s our main and only artery.”
The Beach Road was built in the first half of the 19th century to enable safe access to the top of the island, 120m (400ft) above the jetty. Today, birdwatchers, divers, climbers, plant enthusiasts, archaeologists, geologists and tourists wanting to get away from it all traipse up it. Food, fuel, farming and building materials are also transported to the top of Lundy, which is three and a half miles long and half a mile wide, via the road.
Repairs had been planned in phases over the next five years. But following last winter’s exceptionally high and heavy seas, the repair programme has been brought forward as sections of the road are fast becoming unusable.
Lundy’s cliffs are home to the largest seabird colony in southern England, with kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills, fulmars and shags competing for space. Puffins and Manx shearwaters nest in burrows. Lundy also claims to be the most important site for archaeology in Devon and Cornwall, with 44 monuments from the Bronze Age through to Victorian times.
“Lundy Island holds an extremely special place in my life. It’s magical!”