News and views from north Bristol's urban village

Friday, 19 September 2008

Looe Island

Continuing the occasional series on places to visit not that far from Bristol, we move down the south west peninsula to Looe Island.

Also known as St George's Island, Looe Island, readers won't be surprised to discover, lies one mile south of the Cornish town of Looe.

The island measures one mile in circumference and 22 acres in area and was inhabited until 2004. Unusually for an island of this size, Looe Island is partly wooded. The views back towards the Devon and Cornwall coast are, apparently, spectacular.

Looe Island was bought in 1965 by two sisters, Babs and Evelyn Atkins who moved there in fulfillment of a life-long dream. Their contact with the mainland was via a local boatman who visited several times a week as weather and tide permitted. In the era before mobile phones, the only other form of communication was via flags and hand signals.

With Evelyn's death in 1997 and her sister's in 2004, St George Island passed to the care of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust. The island has long been a haven for sea and woodland birds and can be visited in the Summer via the town.

The island has no roads, no shops and no traffic. It does posses two beaches, numerous rock pools, woods, caves and good fishing spots. A few stones remain from an early medieval benedictine chapel, linked by legend to Joseph of Arimethea (is there anywhere he didn't visit?)

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