What a gift: How one man helped to saved Lundy Island for the nation


We have been saddened to learn about the death of Sir Jack Hayward last week, who was instrumental in helping the National Trust to acquire Lundy Island in 1969.

©National Trust Images/Joe Cornish

©National Trust Images/Joe Cornish

Sir Jack Hayward was a businessman and the former owner of Wolves Football club, who in 1968 became aware of the plight of Lundy through the Neptune Coastal Campaign. It had been put up for sale and was in a state of steady decay and decline.

Sir Jack’s contribution covered the purchase price of buying the island, however the National Trust was not in the financial position to take on the cost of restoring the island. Thankfully the Landmark Trust saved the day with their willingness to undertake a lease of the island to take on the day to day and long term financial management, and we’ve worked alongside them since then, supporting the restoration of parts of the island, the archaeology, and nature conservation.

The Landmark Trust is a charity that takes on historic places which are in danger. They sensitively restore them and make them available for holidays, securing their financial future, and protecting the future of the building for generations to come.

Sir Jack Hayward’s amazing gift set in motion a chain of events which secured the future of Lundy Island so that anyone can visit, stay and enjoy this unique place, and we’re proud, some 45 years on, to be working closely with the Landmark Trust to do just that.

Rob Joules, General Manager for North Devon, said: “Sir Jack Hayward’s gift to the Neptune campaign in 1969 which enabled the National Trust to buy the magical Lundy Island was incredibly generous and allowed us to ensure that the public could continue to enjoy the island forever. Since 1969 tens of thousands of people have been over to the island and enjoyed it first hand; and many millions more have longingly gazed across at the island from the north Devon and south Wales coastlines. Sir Jack’s gift is a legacy that will live on for many future generations to enjoy this unique and very special place.”

So why is Lundy so special? These 10 facts are just a snapshot of what makes Lundy one of those places that you should visit at least once in your lifetime:

  1. Lundy has many designations: Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a Special Area of Conservation, It’s part of the Heritage Coast, and is a Marine Nature Reserve. In 1986 it was designated the UK’s first No Take Zone (NTZ) which means that it’s marine area is protected and no-one can fish, drill or mine there, allowing the sea life to thrive
  1. Lundy is probably the single most important site for archaeology in Devon and Cornwall, with 44 scheduled ancient monuments from the Bronze Age though to Victorian times including a unique Victorian granite quarry.
  1. Lundy’s cliffs are home to the largest seabird colony in southwest England with kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills, puffins, manx shearwaters, fulmars and shags.
  1. There are many rare species of plant on Lundy including balm-leaved figwort, royal fern and the endemic Lundy cabbage with Britain’s only endemic beetle, the bronze Lundy cabbage flea beetle.
  1. Lundy is the only location where all 5 British species of shallow water cup coral are found.
  1. Lundy provides the only nesting site in England for Manx Shearwaters.
  1. Lundy was designated rat free in 2006 as a result of the Seabird Recovery Project and is now Europe’s largest rat free island.
  1. Over 100 people can sleep on the island in the 23 holiday houses which include a lighthouse, castle, villa, fisherman’s cottage, an Admiralty lookout and a converted Barn. There is also a campsite for 40.
  1. Lundy has its own stamps, issued twice a year, and is the world’s oldest private postal service.
  1. The island is 3 miles long and ½ mile wide and rises 400 feet (122m) above sea level.

For more information nationaltrust.org.uk/lundy  or

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