Page last updated at 11:07 GMT, Saturday, 17 May 2008 12:07 UK

Lease on Channel Island for sale

Herm map
Herm is the smallest of the inhabited Channel Islands

It is arguably one of the most peaceful corners of the British Isles, and it is on the market.

Herm in the Channel Islands is about 1.5 miles long and less than half a mile wide.

It has only 50 inhabitants, which are swelled by 80 staff during the holiday season, and now its tenants are selling the lease.

Adrian and Pennie Heyworth, who have run the island for the past 28 years, have decided it is time to move on.

The decision will bring to an end the longest tenancy in Herm's history, dating back to 1949 when Mrs Heyworth's father, the late Major Peter Wood, took on the lease.

Heyworth family
Adrian and Penny Heyworth's children have their own business interests
Since 1980 Mr and Mrs Heyworth have held the lease of the island which is owned by the States of Guernsey.

The island, which is only accessible by boat, relies on a summer tourism business as its main source of income.

Mrs Heyworth told BBC News: "It's been a very emotional decision, I was born on Herm.

"But it's been a decision we have led up to. We now feel it is time to hand it over to a younger person who can enjoy the same fabulous life here.

"It's an absolute gem."

None of the couple's children were interested in taking over the remaining 40 years of the lease.

"They love it, but they have their own successful businesses," said Mrs Heyworth.

"Running Herm is a lifetime commitment."

She added: "Herm is not going anywhere and we are looking foward to enjoying it as holidaymakers."

The island has been a British Crown Dependency since 1204 when King John lost Normandy and the islanders, many of whom had landed interests in England, decided to align themselves with the English.

And there they have remained - bar occupation by the Germans during World War II.

Today the Channel Islands are counted as part of the British Isles, but not of the UK or the EU, with their own governments and generous taxation systems.

Islanders hope for tourism boost
09 Apr 07 |  Guernsey
Island reopens after winter work
26 Mar 07 |  Guernsey
Herm keeps eye on visitor numbers
10 Aug 04 |  Guernsey
Herm ready for first royal visit
23 Jun 04 |  Guernsey

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