Walking to Burgh Island at Low Tide
A View of Burgh Island
At low tide the island, only 200 m from the shore, may be approached on foot. At high tide, the Sea Tractor operated by the hotel provides a ferry service. This unusual vehicle was originally constructed in 1930; the current, third generation tractor dates from 1969. 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. Power from a Fordson tractor engine is relayed to the wheels via hydraulic motors.
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. The hue and cry hut on the summit was used as a lookout for shoals of fish. During this period smuggling, wrecking, and piracy were common, benefiting from a natural barrier for half the day. The most notorious pirate, Tom Crocker, still haunts the island searching for his buried booty according to legend.
Fears of German landing forces using the island as a beachhead 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
During World War II, the hotel was used as a recovery centre for wounded RAF personnel. The top two floors of the hotel were damaged by a bomb during the conflict. Despite being repaired, it suffered a period of post war decline after being converted to self catering apartment accommodation. The hotel has now been restored to an Art Deco style. A previous owner, Tony Porter, has written a book on the restoration of the island and hotel - The Great White Palace.
 Famous Visitors
Burgh Island is closely linked to Agatha Christie, as it served as the inspirational setting for both And Then There Were None as well as Hercule Poirot mystery Evil Under the Sun. The 2002 TV adaptation of Evil Under The Sun used the island as a filming location. Several scenes from the BBC’s 1987 dramatisation of Christie’s story Nemesis were shot in the Burgh Island Hotel, as it was felt that the location was ideal for the film. In 1994 an episode of the television series Lovejoy was set and filmed on the island. It was entitled 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow'. The island was also the location for GMTV's Inch-loss Island slimming feature in 2008, as it was for the original series in 2001. The climactic scene of the 1965 British film "Catch Us If You Can" (featuring The Dave Clark Five) takes place at the island.
Other famous visitors to the Burgh Island Hotel have included The Beatles who used the hotel when they were playing a concert in Plymouth, well away from their passionate fans. Noel Coward visited the hotel, intending to stay three days and ended up staying three weeks. Other guests who have reputedly used the hotel include Edward and Mrs. Simpson and it is said that Eisenhower and Churchill met there in the weeks leading up to the D-Day invasion.
Nicholas Charles Middleton is the current record holder for the swimming race around the island. He set a time of 16 minutes in 2006.
(Copied From Wikipedia)