Sometimes being shut off from the world can seem marvellously appealing. For several hours a day the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, off the Northumberland coast, is completely inaccessible. The tide comes back in and just like that all access is gone. Bad luck if you miss the crossing. For many though this is what makes them so lovely.
Mark Lawson speaks of his own experiences of privately owned Osea island where he spent many summers as a child. “We used to jump in canoes and paddle around it. It was a real Swallows and Amazons experience’.
In South Devon, ‘Burgh Island’, some 800 ft from the village of Bigbury-on-Sea, is home only to a few properties, one of them Burgh Island Hotel. The island is the inspiration for the settings of two Agatha Christie novels.
Tidal island communities do also come together with creative ways to combat the restraints the tides can bring. Burgh Island, for example, has the use of a sea tractor which is the only one of its kind in the world and transports visitors to and from the island when tides are in. Meanwhile, on Jersey, there is an amphibious ‘duck boat’ offering a similar service transporting visitors from the mainland to the Elizabeth Castle, German Forces HQ during the Second World War. Around the coast the picturesque Le Corbiere lighthouse is only accessible between the tides, and when its out charming rock pools form around the base.
Lawson adds that house prices for property on these islands come with conditions. “If you find the right person who wants to live on an island they might pay a little bit more, but I think most people would expect a bit of a reduction because they can only get to their house depending on the tides.” He also adds about the rarity factor and when referring to Eel Island, which is on the Thames, he explains how much people love it. “Our average river seller has been in situ for 18 years, so you can wait a long time for something to come onto the market.”