Journey from an Exmoor Stream to the Atlantic Ocean - LUNDY


Three miles long & one mile wide, LUNDY lies just 10 miles off the coast of North Devon where the Atlantic meets the Bristol Channel. The waters around the island are rich in marine life and have long been used to pioneer marine conservation in England. It was here that the first voluntary, then statutory, Marine Nature Reserve was established. In 2010 Lundy became the first site in England to be designated as a Marine Conservation Zone. It's aim is to protect the diverse but fragile marine habitats from harmful activities and help to return the surrounding seas to as natural a state as possible.

Here clinging precariously to rock faces, facing the strong, plankton rich, currents grow delicate looking pink sea fans (Eunicella verrucosa)(<50cm) The individual polyps that make up each branch of this coral extend their tentacles into the water to feed.

Orange and white plumose anemones (Metridium senile)(<30cm) with their feathery tentacles and tree like appearance, blanket exposed rock faces and like the pink sea fan thrive in plankton rich waters.

Upon these rock faces may also be found the rare crawfish (Palinurus elephas)(<50cm). Unlike lobsters it has no claws. It possesses large serrated antennae for protection and spiky legs that it uses for excavation and effectively crawling up near vertical rock faces.

Cruising in and out of rock boulders and exploring kelp forests cuckoo wrasse (Labrus mixtus)(<35cm) will be busy looking for food and protecting their territories. These exotic looking wrasse species enjoy feeding on prawns and small crabs.

One animal that will be doing all it can to avoid the cuckoo wrasse is the long-clawed squat lobster (Munida bamffica)(<20cm). This unusual long limbed crustacean will live in amongst rock crevices and within the sediment trapped beneath rock boulders. It use's it's elongated claws for extracting debris from within the sediment and these crevices.

During the summer migratory species head north and enter the waters around North Devon. The trigger fish (Balistes carolensis)(<40cm) is one example of this. With it's unusual swimming technique, powerful jaws and inquisitive, intelligent nature it is sure not to miss out on a feeding opportunity.