Millcombe House

Lundy, Bristol Channel, Devon

Overview

A large classical villa built for the Heaven family which looks down a wooded valley and out to sea. Lundy’s beauty, community and way of life make a world apart and despite its size, a stay here never feels quite long enough.

  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Bath with ShowerBath with Shower
  • ShowerShower

Beds 2 Single, 3 Twin, 2 Double

Sleeps
12
4 nights from
£732 equivalent to £15.25 per person, per night

A classical villa

Built in plain classical style in 1835 for the Heaven family, Millcombe House looks down a wooded valley and out to sea. Possibly the most elegant building on the island, it was built of stuccoed granite, and may well have been designed by the Bristol architect, Edwin Honeychurch. Millcombe is a pleasing and sociable house, planned around a central hall on the ground floor and a central staircase above. The terrace was added later. Originally called The Villa, it was renamed Millcombe by Martin Harman when he bought Lundy in 1925 after the watermill which gave the valley its name.

‘The perfect place to celebrate my 60th birthday with daughters and grandchildren who’ve been delighted to see deer in the garden in the mornings.’

From the logbook

Floor Plans

Map & local info

The house is set in Millcombe valley with fine views out to sea and is a short walk to the village.

Read all about Lundy

Clear directions

Places to visit nearby

Rocky shore rambles

Lundy wildlife talks by warden

Snorkeling safaris

Warden led walks

Seabird walks

Climbing

FAQs

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • What time can I arrive and what time do I have to depart from the Landmark?

    Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there toilet rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.
History

Lundy purchased for £9,870

In 1836, a year before Queen Victoria came to the throne, William Hudson Heaven  completed the purchase of Lundy, for which he paid £9,870. The only inhabited buildings were the Lighthouse (now Old Light), the Farmhouse (now Old House) and a couple of cottages. The island was neither populous nor prosperous.

Born in 1799, the son of a Somerset gentleman, and educated at Harrow and Oxford, Mr Heaven was rich from his godfather William Hudson's sugar estates in Jamaica. He intended to make Lundy his summer estate and quickly set about building a house suitable for his wife and their expanding family.

He considered building his home at Gannet's Combe, some way towards the North End beyond Admiralty Lookout but instead chose Millcombe Valley, considerably closer to what was then and is now the heart of the island and its landing beach. It is a perfectly sheltered position - described by Nikolaus Pevsner as "the only place where Lundy can be seen in so gentle a mood". The house built by William Heaven, originally known as The Villa, is symmetrical and understandably Classical. It has a shallow and bogus pediment, which was not meant to fool anybody as the footpath leading up to the village behind the house, affords an excellent view of its roof.

In their book on Lundy, A & M Langham point out that "the completion of the house was a considerable achievement as Mr Heaven had to import all the materials for building, as well as his furniture, onto the island and have them dragged up the steep track from the beach by sleds pulled by donkeys and oxen" - agonisingly slow and arduous work. Soon after this the Beach Road was built.

The Villa was built of stuccoed granite and Mr Heaven's resident agent, William Malbon, supervised the works. He was not satisfied with their quality and had great difficulty in obtaining the right materials from the mainland, so before accounts were settled on completion in 1838, he commissioned a survey and report. This was carried out by Edwin Honeychurch, an architect from Bristol, who may also have designed the house. Nothing it seems was quite right: he complained about the joinery, plumbing, decoration and bell hangings; moreover he stated that the roof composition was unsatisfactory.

It seems that financial considerations rather than shoddy building caused William Heaven to offer the island for sale in 1840. An enthusiastic journalist described the Villa thus: "the mansion is of recent creation and combines within it all the accommodation a patriotic little monarch can desire, with corresponding offices of every description". The acquiescence of Mr Malbon and Mr Honeychurch to this is questionable but in any case Lundy did not sell.

Millcombe is a pleasing and sociable house planned as it is on the ground floor round a central hall, and on the first floor round a top-lit central staircase. The dining room and drawing room (both heated by unusual convector grates) and the kitchen were in the same places as now. The large room next to the kitchen was the Butler's Pantry. Where there is now a cloakroom and two bathrooms, there was a scullery, larder and a cloakroom.

Upstairs the plan has not changed. William Heaven slept in the bedroom now named Benson. When it was built the Villa had the unusual facility of washbasins in the bedrooms. Miss Eileen Heaven relates that they were moved to Tapeley Hall by Lady Christie when that family acquired Lundy in 1918. In the stairwell is the portrait by Monanteuil of the Heaven children in 1832: Hudson, Maria, William (Walter) and Cecilia. It used to hang in the Hall and was presented to The Landmark Trust by Miss Eileen Heaven.

Behind the dining room there was formerly an outside WC. Beyond is a range of outhouses once used as stores, a gun-room, laundry, and carriage-house. The terrace was added later, and the porch was there by 1872. This doubled as a conservatory, with geraniums and fuschias in window-boxes, where nectar-loving insects buzzed happily. The family planted the garden with flowering shrubs and laid out the winding paths. The walled kitchen gardens were at the bottom, near the Beach Road. Beside the gate were stables, since pulled down.

Mrs Heaven, whose love of Lundy did not always match her husband's, died in 1851 and after this the family moved to the island on a permanent basis. William Heaven lived at the Villa with his two unmarried daughters, Cecilia and Amelia Anne. His son, the Rev. Hudson Grosett Heaven, joined them in 1863, followed in 1866 by Mrs Marion Heaven, widow of the second son, Walter, with their two children, and in 1873 by a niece, Ann-Mary Heaven.

In 1875, William Heaven had a stroke which left him severely incapacitated until his death in 1883, and the Rev. Hudson took over the running of the island. He was known by the family as ‘Phi’, short for Philosopher, due to his voracious appetite for reading. He was licensed as curate during his father's lifetime and used to hold Sunday services in the dining room or hall at Millcombe when the congregation was small. In 1885, he built the corrugated iron church of St. Helena's on a site directly to the north of Government House, described by Bishop Bickersteth of Exeter as "a corrugated irony".

In 1897, however, the Bishop consecrated an altogether grander church, the one so clearly silhouetted against the sky as we approach Lundy by sea. With its 65-foot tower holding a peal of eight bells, it was designed by the London architect, John Norton. This perhaps explains its urban scale though, as Myrtle Langham pointed out in an article on the Heaven family published in 1986, its size was not so remarkable at a time when Lundy boasted a population of 60. The Rev. Hudson Heaven died on the mainland in 1916, "having accomplished the dream of his life by erecting this church to the glory of God", as the plaque in the church reads.

In 1918 Lundy was sold to the Christies and then in 1925 to Mr Martin Coles Harman. Originally called the Villa, it was by then known as the House, but when the Harmans moved in, they renamed it Millcombe after the watermill that gave the valley its name. They did not live on the island permanently but stayed there for holidays. One of Mr Harman's special Lundy pleasures was the possibility of shooting rabbits from his bedroom window.

In 1961 it was discovered that dry rot had taken hold of the roof and other timbers, especially at the south end of the house. Consequently the walls of the drawing room, the bedrooms above and the bathroom had to be torn down and the affected timber removed. It became clear that the copper sheets of the curious inward-sloping roof, designed to catch rainwater, would have to be removed. The considerable cost of this dictated that the roof would be replaced with a flat one of felt covered with asphalt as a temporary solution. This was completed in the summer of 1962.

For a short history of Lundy please click here.

To read the full history album for Lundy please click here.

Landmark's restoration

In 1971 the Landmark Trust began a complete refurbishment of Millcombe, curing the remains of dry rot and renewing the inward-sloping copper roof. To restore Millcombe to its original appearance, the porches at the front and back were removed in 1977. At the same time, a new north window was put in the kitchen, facing the site of the demolished latrine, and the floor was tiled with German quarry tiles like those in the Barn. The range of offices at the back was also restored and is now inhabited by islanders. From 1973 until 1988 Millcombe was a small hotel. In 1989, walls were added to enclose the terrace.

Getting to Lundy

Getting to Lundy

Your Lundy adventure begins even before you set foot on the Island.

During the winter season, (beginning of November until the end of March), a Helicopter Service operates between Lundy and Hartland Point on Mondays and Fridays.  This exhilarating flight takes approximately seven minutes, providing spectacular aerial views of the Island and North Devon.

During the summer season, (end of March until the end of October), the Island’s own supply ship and ferry, the MS Oldenburg departs several times a week from either Bideford or Ilfracombe. 

Find out more

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.