Spurn Head is a fascinating area to visit in the North of England. Known for its geological formations, nature and history, there is plenty to learn about Spurn Head, and in this article I share with you the most interesting things. Ready to learn more? Read on!
- Things To Know About Spurn Head
- 1. It Boasts the Famous Kilnsea Sound Mirror
- 2. Spurn Bird Observatory- A Haven for Migrant Birds
- 3. The Tallest Lighthouse of Yorkshire is Located at Spurn
- 4. Spurn Holds an Incredible Geological History
- 5. RAF Holmpton – Features Social History and War Exhibits
- 6. Flamborough Headland Heritage Coast- A Site of Scientific Interest
- 7. Spurn Safari offers a Wildlife Tour on Unimog
- 8. Spurn Discovery Center – Provides Panoramic Sea Views
- 9. Bempton Cliffs – A Hub of Breeding Seabirds
- 10. Home to a Royal National Lifeboat Institution
- 11. Fossil Finding is Practised Greatly at Spurn Head
- 12. Ravenser Odd- A 600-Year-Ago Abandoned Village
- 13. The 2013 Storm Caused Extensive Coastal Erosion at Spurn
Things To Know About Spurn Head
Do you know, the fascinating Spurn Head looks like an “elongated tongue” with its 50-meter low-lying glacial clay spit and extends 4 miles across the Humber estuary. The big skies and shifting landscapes make Spurn one of the most iconic features of the British coastline and eye candy for tourists.
The spit is a stopover point for migrant birds, lizards, roe deer, and insect species like hoverflies and lackey moths. As a result, Spurn Head is labeled Nature Reserve by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, making the habitat highly protected.
In terms of history, Spurn was utilised as a treacherous point for shipping and military purposes during the Napoleonic War, with a number of military bases built during World War One.
In this article, we’ve compiled some important facts about the Spurn Head to make your journey preferences easier. So keep reading to learn the majesty of nature’s magic!
1. It Boasts the Famous Kilnsea Sound Mirror
The 14 feet and 9 inches high acoustic mirror lies East of Hull near Spurn Head and faces the sea. It was a part of Britain’s defense system and constructed as an early warning device for incoming rivals by picking up sound waves from great distances.
The sound mirror holds a microphone mounting pole where the microphone would’ve been fixed, and the operator would use headphones to listen to incoming enemies. Furthermore, this prominent brutalist structure serves as a historical landmark and tourist attraction.
Standing behind a nature reserve in a field at the end of Spurn land, the mirror is preserved to provide valuable pieces of history about WWI. Besides that, it is surrounded by a lovely walking zone so that you can capture great pictures.
2. Spurn Bird Observatory- A Haven for Migrant Birds
Located in the small village of Kilnsea at the northern end of the Spurn peninsula, the Spurn Head bird observatory is an excellent place to witness rare migrant birds. The first ringed bird at this superb location was a Blackbird on 17th November 1945, and since then, the observatory has seen scare species.
Following that, birds like Hooded Crows, Barred Warblers, Fieldfares, Terns, and Ergets are attracted to the combination of habitats at Spurn, making it a paradise for ornithologists. Don’t forget to take your binoculars here for a lifetime experience.
In addition, the unique bird sightings are modified regularly at the observatory and its website.
The tourists can see live migration without worrying about the facilities as the observatory offers hotel-style accommodation for 13 guests, whereas a local pub nearby offers home-cooked meals.
3. The Tallest Lighthouse of Yorkshire is Located at Spurn
The 128 feet tall Spurn Head Lighthouse was established in 1895 with the shape of a cylindrical tower and a lantern on its top. The historically significant lighthouse is painted in distinctive black and white with Victorian architecture, making it a popular tourist attraction.
You can climb to the top of the lighthouse through a well-built staircase to enjoy spectacular views.
The lighthouse has information boards on its ground floor, and the friendly guides will engage you in historic conversations for a fulfilling experience. For your ease, remember to check the opening hours before you plan a visit here with your family.
Last but not least, a small seating area outside the building makes a perfect picnic spot.
4. Spurn Holds an Incredible Geological History
The narrow 5-kilometer-long spit is composed of sediment, shingle, and clay eroded from the Holderness coastline in East Yorkshire. In addition, these materials flowed along the seaboard by longshore drift, and deposition occurred to create Spurn spit between the North Sea and River Humber.
The Spurn head holds a delicate ecosystem where the plants are adapted to immerse in water every 12 hours, like marram grass, which prevents coastal erosion. Other flowering plants are Sea Holly, Bee Orchids, and Sea Lavender, adding to the beauty of the magnificent spit.
Furthermore, the various habitats include salt marshes, dunes colonised by vegetation, ponds, lagoons, and grasslands, which geography lovers can witness!
5. RAF Holmpton – Features Social History and War Exhibits
The famous bunker was built in the 1950s and was used as a radar station for ground-controlled interception or early warning search of enemies. The cold war bunker was also availed as a training opportunity for radar engineers between 1974-1984 and has been reconstructed several times within its 60 years.
The fully restored RAF bunker is a fantastic indoor place to visit and is preserved by a committed group of volunteers and veterans. The significance of this bunker is explained to the tourists through information boards pinned around to explain various rooms. Moreover, you can watch a short film in the briefing room.
Since it features exhibits about aviation, wars, arms and ammunition, social history, and technology, it might feel more like an educational trip than a regular day out.
6. Flamborough Headland Heritage Coast- A Site of Scientific Interest
Located between Filey and Bridlington basins of the sea and North of Spurn Head, Flamborough Headland is 13 kilometers long heritage coast with white cliffs. These cliffs consist of unique chalk deposits like Ferriby, Welton, and Burnham and are the only chalk sea cliffs to exist in the North with till at the top.
In addition, the chalky white cliffs are home to 200,000 nesting seabirds like gannets. The Flamborough Head has been labeled a Special Area of Conserve to protect and conserve 189 habitats and 788 species strictly.
The sandy beaches and boating centers here allow the visitors to escape worldly stress and indulge in crystal waters. Enjoy the bracing sea air during your coble journey, or walk along large wave-cut platforms.
7. Spurn Safari offers a Wildlife Tour on Unimog
A three-hour wildlife journey across the picturesque landscape of Spurn Head gives an unforgettable experience to tourists where a Unimog is used as a mode of transport to provide good views.
Besides that, themed trips focusing on the spit’s military history are arranged where you can listen to historic military tales on your way told by friendly guides. The whole experience is quite knowledgeable as they even tell you about plans of Spurn while you look at the odd butterflies like Dingy Skipper.
The constantly moving peninsula is a paradise for those who seek water adventures as the Marine Spurn Safari offers a marine-themed journey to explore sea residents. Don’t forget to click underwater pictures with seals and enjoy a delicious crab soup!
8. Spurn Discovery Center – Provides Panoramic Sea Views
Begin your adventure with the Spurn Head Discovery Center, where you can find all the required information to make the most of your trip. Managed by Yorkshire wildlife trust, the center has exciting displays about Spurn Lighthouses, including the bull’s eye lens and fiberglass puffin.
Moreover, the staff also offers a few souvenirs for tourists to purchase.
The surrounding tidal island offers refreshing walks that allow tourists to roam freely and experience scenic views. Before you wander off for a walk, remember to enjoy the perfect refreshments from the discovery cafe, which offers a pleasant atmosphere and fresh food.
From hot drinks to savory pastries, the discovery center is the jack of all trades.
9. Bempton Cliffs – A Hub of Breeding Seabirds
The hard chalk Bempton Cliffs are a haven for half a million seabirds that gather to fill the air with their sharp sounds. Located in the East Riding of Yorkshire, the sheer cliffs tower up to 330 feet and are the most visited RSPB ( Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) reserve in the country.
The breeding seabirds include gannets, kittiwakes, fulmars, and Atlantic puffins which visit between March and October to raise families. Hence, this scenario draws thousands of bird watchers and casual tourists to get a sneak peek of a lovely wildlife spectacle.
Also, you can spot marine animals like porpoises, seals, and minke whales on Bempton’s coast.
The facilities include nature trails, fun activities for young ones, a seabird center, and picnic areas, so don’t forget to add Bempton to your bucket list!
10. Home to a Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Humber Lifeboat Station was established in 1810 and is one of the nine Royal National Lifeboat Institutions located along the Yorkshire coast at Spurn Head. Apart from dealing with more than 50 accidents in a year, Humber is the only station with a full-time staff because the waters around the coast are extremely rough.
The two types of lifeboats used here include an inshore lifeboat and an all-weather lifeboat with an amazing speed of 25 knots. In addition, Humber is also open to tourists, so you can witness the lifeboats closely and meet the brave crew by making an advance booking with your family.
However, it is believed that Humber might move to Grimsby after serving for 200 years. Also, the crew at Humber has been awarded with thirty-three RNLI gallantry medals for risking their lives in rescue operations.
11. Fossil Finding is Practised Greatly at Spurn Head
The Holderness coast is filled with delicate fossil remains of wildlife that survived millions of years ago. Therefore, for people interested in geology, fossil finding is an exciting experience as the Spurn Point is filled with priceless fossils, including ammonites, devil’s tonails, and belemnites.
The clays create a large flat stretch of land from Bridlington to Spurn Point and contain carboniferous corals and oyster shells.
Explore the ancient remains and discover the past environments and ecosystems on your trip to Spurn. The activity is also suitable for all families as no prior experience is needed for fossil collection. However, the collection is prohibited in some areas to protect the rich environment, so make sure to choose a suitable space and bring out your inner paleontologist.
12. Ravenser Odd- A 600-Year-Ago Abandoned Village
Situated at the mouth of the Humber estuary, Ravenser Odd is a unique and historic location that served as a medieval port town on the sandbanks of Spurn Head. The town’s name comes from “Hrafns Eyr” or “Raven’s tongue,” which means a lost sandbank promontory and has been mentioned many times in Icelandic sagas.
The 600-year-old town comprised 100 towns with a flourishing population and an extensive market, including warehouses, prisons, and a court. Sadly, the enormous Saint Marcellus Flood in 1362 caused widespread flooding, finishing off Ravenser Odd.
The entire trading hub vanished under the waves by the crumbling sandbanks, and all signs of the town were swept away by 1400.
The site is now famous for its rich cultural history and a preserved ecosystem where you can stand at Spurn sandbank and witness white waters that indicate the lost town.
13. The 2013 Storm Caused Extensive Coastal Erosion at Spurn
In December 2013, a powerful tidal surge flooded extensive areas of the nature reserve, causing significant damage and disruption. The roads and dunes that lead towards Spurn Head were washed entirely off by erosion, and the beach profile was changed considerably.
The buildings of villages lost to sea can still be seen, and the last permanent residents shifted away long before their town was cut entirely from the mainland. In addition, the region is now termed a washover area as it becomes inundated with waves during high tide.
However, there is a need for regular monitoring and management to protect this nature’s treasure from the effects of climate change and save the economy and lives.
Spurn Head is now designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to its vast flora and fauna and is worth a visit for those interested in the environment and wildlife. These rare insects, migrating birds, and plants are adapted to the harsh coastal environment.
Lastly, the role of Spurn in shipping, military, and communications can never be forgotten as it leaves a legacy of hidden structures and buildings.
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