Burgh Island

Burgh Island is a small tidal island on the South Devon Coast that is home to Burgh Island Hotel. This luxury Art Deco hotel was built in 1929 by filmmaker Archibald Nettleford. It became a very glamorous place to stay attracting many famous visitors including Winston Churchill, Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, Agatha Christie (who wrote two of her books here) and the Beatles. Less famous visitors included my Dad who lived here for a short time during the Second World War.



 My Dad, who sadly died a number of years ago, was interested in Family Hisory and wrote his memoirs. He joined the Army on the beginning of the Second World War and ended up for a few months stationed at Burgh Island.

 The Platoon I was sent to was sent to was stationed on Burgh Island, Bigbury on Sea. The island was some three hundred yards from the mainland connected by a causeway that was only usable at low tide. There were only a few buildings on the Island, a luxury hotel, a  village pub and a  remains of a former chapel on the summit. 

We were accommodated on one floor of the Hotel, the rest of which while we were there was used as a Film Studio. At the time we had one day off a week on such days we often stood in as extras  for which we were paid £1 for a day's work. Besides ourselves there was a small Coastal Artillery detachment manning a huge 6 inch mortar. When this was fired into the sea we used to row out in an assault boat to collect the stunning fish which had been blown to the surface by the explosion of the mortar.

One of the advantages of being on an island was that the Orderly officer could not come and turn out the Guard whilst the tide was in. In any event you got early warning of his approach as his car was clearly visible coming across the causeway. Another advantage was having the only Pub in the area on our doorstep.






It is still a wonderful location and the Hotel eventually suffered damage during the 2nd World War, was then converted into self catering apartments. Then in the 1990's it was converted back to it's former glory. The hotel is sadly outside our price bracket, but you like us, can peep in via it's website and see it's wonderful Art Deco interior here



The tide was out and we enjoyed walking over the sands, before joining part of the South West Coast path and climbing over the cliffs to find a beautiful hidden bay.




Turning inland we found a wonderful old 13th century inn, where we found sustenance to help us on the walk back to the car, the cliffs seem so much steeper walking back in the opposite direction! 



These pictures were taken on a short break away before Easter. It's strange seeing these blue skies as they are in such short supply at the moment, I know we English are well known for talking about the weather but everyone I meet at the moment seems to be asking when it will stop raining! Locally the farmers are unable to get their cows back out into the fields, sow the crops and the price of hay has escalated.

Wishing you a good week, I have a few full weeks ahead, so apologies for not being around much.

Sarah x

Comments

  1. How wonderful to have your Dad’s words about the place, Sarah. It is a bit expesive for my pocketbook too. Beautiful though. A lovely area to explore as you did though.

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  2. just finished a novel set at Wallis Simpson and abdication time - brings that chunk of century! old history to life.

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  3. It looks wonderful, Sarah. I didn't think I'd heard of the place until I started reading your description, though I would never have remembered the name. Fabulous that you have your dad's memory of the place to treasure.

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  4. At those prices they'd BETTER bring my coffee to me! I'm glad you got to at least visit the site where you Dad stayed for a while. His remembrances are a real treasure to have.

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  5. What beautiful views of the coastline and sea you've shown us. Gorgeous. How lovely to have your father's memories of the hotel.

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  6. Lovely post and sharing your dad's memoirs too :) I love walking on the beach and shoreline, but here the tide goes waaaay out and doesn't come very far in because we're at the mouth of an estuary
    The hotel looks gorgeous and I love how the decoration's been done. When we decorated last I wanted the ceilings and walls painted the same colour, but John said the ceiling didn't need painting at the time; maybe next time :) x

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  7. Such strange weather across the planet it seems. Beautiful pics of your part of the world. Love the stories.

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  8. Now I know where I'll have a holiday if a lottery win was to come my way! It would have to be Agatha Christie's beach house, what a location! How lovely to know that your Dad was there - do you know of any of the films he might have been in? My middle sister stayed there for a night a few years ago, said it was amazing - probably before the prices went up!

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    1. No I don't know of any films my Dad might have been in, it would be great to discover one! Sarah x

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  9. Hi Sarah, what lovely photos. I remember walking over to Burgh Island with some girlfriends after a friend's wedding nearby and having a few drinks at the inn there! It's a wonderful place and a fantastic beach – we took the children there when they were small and had a brilliant day. Thank you for reminding me. Sam x

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  10. A lovely post, Sarah and what a place. Very glad it has been restored...but yes, quite pricey!

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  11. our son and his family plus another family spend a week every Easter in Bigbury on Sea and visit Burgh Island and the Pilchard Inn.

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  12. Having such a great love of all things Art Deco I have always wanted to visit Burgh Island - hopefully I will get there one of these fine days.

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  13. Such a beautiful part of the country. Wonderful that you have your father’s memoirs of his time there. So precious. Visited there a few years ago and loved it. Always enjoy watching the Agatha Christie stories that are featured there. B x

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  14. What a lovely and beautiful place! I must remember the name :)
    Have a happy week now and take care...
    Titti

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  15. Hello Sarah! I love your new blog layout! And as usual, your tours of the coastline leave me wishing I could just get on a plane NOW and visit your world. Thank you for bringing a bit of spring to this snow-laden land where I live!

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  16. Such a shame that only the rich can enjoy that spectacular (although looking somewhat improbable in that setting) hotel. I imagine I would feel more comfortable hoisting a drink at the Pilchard Inn--with my neck swiveling to admire the tree behind it and the ocean in front. Love your father's history and wouldn't it be nice to see him as an extra in a film! Thanks for sharing this post. It was really special.

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  17. Far from my budget also Sarah. How wonderful that you have these words from your father! It is indeed a beautiful area.

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  18. How lovely that your dad wrote about his life - my father in law also wrote his memoires and we treasure his little book packed full of interesting snippets like this one from your dad. Burgh Island looks such a wonderful place what a shame that the price makes it only enjoyable for a few who can afford it!

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  19. Lovely to have your fathers memoirs for there. I like the idea of rowing out to collect the stunned fish.

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  20. How wonderful that you were able to visit the island and appreciate it from your father's perspective. The hotel looks wonderful. Maybe one day?

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  21. Glad you had some good weather on your break, and some good walking. Did you know Burgh Island has just been sold: http://www.devonlife.co.uk/out-about/places/burgh-island-sold-to-london-based-investors-1-5473906

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