We have been working hard to balance the needs of both wildlife and people at this much loved headland at Croyde since 4 May 1939 when it is was given to us by Edwin, Connie and Florence Hyde who lived on the headland. There are still plenty of signs of the past lives of the Hydes if you know where to look. The handsome Croyde Hoe farm which sits majestically on top of the headland was once owned by them and known as Baggy Farm whilst the freshwater pond situated close to the coastpath was originally built by the Hydes as an extension to their garden and used to be home to many mallard ducks although according to the excellent book ‘Croyde in my Lifetime’, they ‘all mysteriously disappeared during the American occupation’ in the second world war!
The Hydes were also fond of fishing and boating and created a natural slipway and small sheltered harbour by digging away the hard rocks at the base of the cliffs. You can still these cut into the rocks at the point where you pass the small flight of steps near a bench not long after leaving the pond. Above the slipway, the site where a winch was once housed can be identified by a large recess in the soft cliffs right next to the path and this enabled the family to haul their boats up high out of the worst of the winter storms.
Since the gift of Baggy Point in 1939, the National Trust ranger team and volunteers have enjoyed maintaining the footpaths and infrastructure throughout the year and controlling the gorse in the winter months when the birds aren’t nesting. At this time of year the careful management starts to pay off as the coastal flowers spring to life. Enjoy the wild flower displays of pink thrift, yellow kidney vetch, white sea campion and wild carrot whilst in late summer, look out for the purple heather and rarer blue autumn squill. Birds also benefit from the mix of habitats; stonechats, Dartford warblers and linnets love the thick scrub, while the cliffs are popular places to spot shag, cormorants and oystercatchers and don’t forget to also look upwards as kestrels are commonly seen hovering in search of a tasty vole whilst peregrine falcons regularly swop past at great speeds in the search for a stray bird to snack on.
Help us celebrate the anniversary of National Trust care with a special Baggy Point ‘Walk and cake’ event on Sunday 11 May. See the ‘Events’ tab for more details.