Sunday, 5 October 2014

Devonshire magazine Oct/Nov 2014: Goat Island

I've briefly mentioned East Devon Coast & Country magazine before; a few issues back it was rebadged as the Exeter, East & Mid Devon issue of the Devonshire magazine, part of the larger Prestige Media stable. It always impresses me as one of the very few of the glossy advertorial magazines with good-quality editorial content, usually on topographical/historical topics, and this month's was no exception.

This month's issue had a good article on the Ottery Tar Barrels event (editorial by John Fisher, photos by Nigel Jones); a very interesting and beautifully illustrated piece, by diver and underwater photographer Dan Bolt, on Nudibranchs of the East Devon coast; and a history article on the Axmouth-Lyme Undercliff by author and historian Ted Gosling, curator of Seaton Museum.

While the Undercliff is hardly an untrodden subject, Mr Gosling's article covers a lot of territory I hadn't read before, on the history of agriculture and habitations in the Undercliff. It also has one of the best aerial photos I've seen, a double-page spread that clearly shows the continuing existence of the isolated 'Goat Island' in the centre of the landslip, at the focus of the 1839 slip.

Goat Island is now managed by Natural England as a herb--rich chalk grassland. Unlike the general nature reserve of the Undercliff below, I don't think it's actually private, but it does look moderately difficult to reach, with the path down through the adjoining Chasm known only to local cognoscenti (here are some photos at Karen Woolley's blog Wild Wings and Wanderings). I notice that the Seaton Visitor Centre Trust on occasion organises visits during the annual Seaton Festival, and the Axe Vale and District Conservation Society works with Natural England with grass cutting and conservation. Mind you, these days I'm inclined to just go and have a look.

On the topic, I see the East Devon District Countryside team also has events - for the fit and able only - where participation in conservation work enables access to normally unvisitable areas of the Undercliff such as Ware Pond, Chapel Rock, and the 'Lost Garden of Pinhay'.

Devonshire magazine, Oct/Nov 2014, pages 50-51
Low-resolution image reproduced for purpose of criticism/review.

Goat Island - print photographed at Lyme Regis Museum
The magazine is online at issuu - - and you can read recent issues via Prestige Media, or browse the whole stable of Prestige Media magazines at

- Ray

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