Burgh Island is a small tidal island off the coast of South Devon in England near to the small seaside village of Bigbury-on-Sea. There are several buildings on the island, the largest being the Art Deco Burgh Island Hotel. The other buildings are three private houses, and a public house, the Pilchard Inn, run by the hotel.
The early history of the island is unclear, however it is mentioned in early records and on maps as St Michael's Island. Later the name changed to Borough Island, eventually being corrupted to Burgh.
It is believed a monastery was established on the island, most of the remains of which may lie beneath the current hotel. The ancient Pilchard Inn may have started life as the guest lodgings for the monastery.
A small, perhaps transient, population of fishermen occupied the island following the dissolution of the monastery, specialising in pilchard fishing. There are the remains of a chapel a-top the island.
Fears of German landing forces using the island as a beachhead during World War II resulted in the area's fortification with anti-tank defences as well as two pill boxes, positioned on either side of the causeway. An observation post was also established on the summit to monitor the coastline.
Burgh Island Hotel
Burgh Island Hotel is an iconic Devon landmark, a shining white ocean liner, moored on its own tidal island, surrounded by golden beaches and silver seas.
Built in 1929, extended in 1932 and, since 2006, completely restored to its '30s glamour, the Burgh Island Hotel is a retreat like none other.
The beauty and intrigue of an island visit has always drawn guests who are looking for something different. It is no surprise that Agatha Christie, Noel Coward and other pre-War luminaries made Burgh Island their second home. See Website
Quenching the Island‘s thirst for over 700 years, The Pilchard Inn first served the fishermen who lived on the Island and mainland shores, then the smugglers and wreckers who lured ships onto the Western rocks and now Hotel guests and the public.
The island is approximately 250 metres from the mainland at Bigbury-on-Sea and is approachable on foot at low tide. At high tide, the sea tractor transports passengers back and forth. The vehicle drives across the beach with its wheels underwater on the sandy bottom while its driver and passengers sit on a platform high above.
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