ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Flamborough Head: A Visitors Guide

Updated on August 15, 2018

Flamborough Cliffs

A view of Flamborough Cliffs looking north towards Bempton Cliffs taken in May 2018 taken by my girlfriend.
A view of Flamborough Cliffs looking north towards Bempton Cliffs taken in May 2018 taken by my girlfriend. | Source

Introduction

You may recall a recent article that I published about the glorious nature reserve that is Bempton Cliffs on the East Yorkshire coast. Well now, I've moved a few miles to the south to the rugged beauty that is Flamborough Head. It's basically an 8 mile long peninsula stretching out into the North Sea between the village of Filey and town of Bridlington, and while Bempton Cliffs can get busy with visitors, Flamborough is a place where you find a quite little spot and either just stare out to sea or engage in some seawatching- a specialized form of birdwatching. Alternatively, if you fancy something a little more active you can actually walk up and down the coastal paths, walking to Filey via Bempton or around the peninsula to the nearest big town Bridlington.

Where Is Flamborough Head?

A
Flamborough Head:
Flamborough Head, Bridlington, YO15, UK

get directions

Flamborough Head lies between the village of Filey and the nearest large town, Bridlington.

How To Get There?

Whether you're journeying from north or south, Flamborough Head is very easy to find and access. Simply get onto the M62 East, then onto the A165 and follow the signs for Bridlington until you start seeing signs for Flamborough, although these signs at first are just for the village that acts as the gateway to the peninsula. In order to experience the peninsula in its full glory, you must bypass the village and head either to the North Landing, South Landing or to the oldest complete lighthouse in the whole of England.

North Landing

A flock of Northern gannets streaming past Flamborough Head towards their nest sites at Bempton Cliffs.
A flock of Northern gannets streaming past Flamborough Head towards their nest sites at Bempton Cliffs. | Source
My favourite spot on the North Landing. I've often sat here and watched the world go by through my telescope.
My favourite spot on the North Landing. I've often sat here and watched the world go by through my telescope. | Source
Atlantic puffins tend to be more common on Flamborough Cliffs than they are at nearby Bempton, where Northern gannets are undoubtedly the most abundant bird.
Atlantic puffins tend to be more common on Flamborough Cliffs than they are at nearby Bempton, where Northern gannets are undoubtedly the most abundant bird. | Source
Razorbills are also a common sight on Flamborough Cliffs during the breeding season, as are the Auk relatives, the common guillemot.
Razorbills are also a common sight on Flamborough Cliffs during the breeding season, as are the Auk relatives, the common guillemot. | Source

North Landing

In the village of Flamborough itself you'll see a sign directing you to turn left onto the B1255 otherwise known as North Marine Road, a straight road that takes you right up to North Landing Bay, a small sandy bay that is only accessible by walking down a very steep path. I can tell you now that it matters not whether you're going up or down, each way is tricky, hard work and potentially hazardous.

Whilst driving along North Marine Road, you'll no doubt notice Thornwick Bay Holiday Camp, a vast complex of static caravans (trailers), shops and facilities designed to keep children and adults alike entertained. On a typical visit to the North Landing though, I tend to drive to the end of the road and park up in the large cliff top car park. I have visited the beach a few times, but in order to see the North Landing in all its glory, I recommend taking the cliff top trail to the Flamborough Cliffs Nature Reserve which literally takes you right up to the edge of cliffs. Unlike Bempton though, there are no fences or railings to protect you, so I would strongly advise you to stay back from the edge, and to not venture up there during periods of high winds, storm or fog.

Alternatively if you arrive at the North Landing and are feeling a tad peckish, then I recommend dropping into the North Landing Cafe, where you can enjoy either a good beer, cup of tea or bite to eat whilst revelling in the views of the North Sea and the stream of seabirds that pass by.

The clifftops of at North Landing offer one of the best places anywhere in the UK to engage in some seawatching- a specialised form of birdwatching, that involves simply standing in one spot and recording anything that flies past. During the Spring and Autumn migration periods, almost anything could pass by, including skuas/jaegers, various species of waders, gannets, auks and sea ducks such as common and velvet scoters. During the breeding season the white chalk cliff faces are strewn with thousands upon thousands of puffins, razorbills, common guillemots, kittiwakes and fulmars. Curiously though, northern gannets do not breed on this particular stretch of the Yorkshire coast, instead they opt for the towering cliffs nearby at Bempton. You can still marvel though at the large flocks gliding past your position as they return to their cliff ledge nests. Flamborough Cliffs actually offer far better and closer views of the charismatic Atlantic puffin. Moreover, you will rarely have to compete with hordes of photographers. I've often sat on the cliffs for hours without barely seeing a soul. As well as birds you may be lucky enough to catch sight one of the sea mammals that frequent England's east coast. I've personally glimpsed both Grey and Common Seals, and I have seen reports of Harbor Porpoise and Minke Whale, but have not been lucky enough to see either one yet.

For those who are interested in other things than watching birds, then the undoubted highlight of North Landing is the small beach situated at the foot of a steep path leading from the car park. Here, you can simply stare out to sea, play in the sand, or, when the tide is out explore the rock pools and small caves that dot the bay. There is even the option of taking a cruise around to nearby Thornwick Bay for a small charge that allow you to see the famed smugglers caves, normally hidden from view. If you have a dog, then a trip to North Landing Beach is ideal for enabling your canine friend to experience the sea.

The Lighthouses

A photo of the chalk tower at Flamborough Head first completed in 1669 which served as the original lighthouse.
A photo of the chalk tower at Flamborough Head first completed in 1669 which served as the original lighthouse. | Source
And here is the modern fully functioning lighthouse, which was completed in 1806 at a cost of £8000.
And here is the modern fully functioning lighthouse, which was completed in 1806 at a cost of £8000.

The Lighthouses

After checking out the North Landing, you may want to check out the lighthouse. In order to do that, drive back up North Marine Road back into Flamborough village then turn left onto Lighthouse Road, which will take you straight to your next destination. Flamborough Head actually has two complete lighthouses. The first is a still standing chalk tower first completed in 1669 and is now a Grade II listed building. The present lighthouse was completed in 1806 and acts as a vital marker for vessels passing between Scarborough and Bridlington. It was manned by lighthouse keeper traditionally, but has operated electronically since 1975, although the last lighthouse keeper did not leave until 1996. Admittedly I haven't spent as much time at the lighthouse as other areas of Flamborough Head, but on the few occasions I have ventured there, the one thing that caught my eye above everything else, was a toposcope situated near the present lighthouse. It was erected in 1959 to commemorate a near forgotten battle of the American Revolutionary War- the Battle of Flamborough Head.

Back in 1779, the seas off of Flamborough Head played host to one of the greatest moments in the career of famed Scottish/American naval captain John Paul Jones. Jones, who was captain of the USS Bonhomme Richard, along with the USS Alliance, was able to not only engage but defeat and capture a Royal naval ship, HMS Serapis and a merchant ship HM Countess of Scarborough.

South Landing

The final part of the peninsula for you to explore is South Landing. From the lighthouse, go back up Lighthouse Road, once again heading back to Flamborough Village, only this time turn left down South Sea Road, following the signs for South Landing and YWT (Yorkshire Wildlife Trust) Living Sea Centre. Follow the road for about a mile or so before coming to the center and park in the car park which will be on your left. You cannot in actual fact drive any further than the center as the road narrows into a single track which ultimately leads to South Landing Beach.

The YWT Living Seas Center is basically a focal point for anybody wishing to find out more about the marine wildlife of the Flamborough. You can read leaflets, chat to the friendly and always helpful staff, browse in the gift shop and even take in some light refreshment. You can even participate in Seashore safaris or even book a trip a Living Seas Safari in a traditional fishing boat, where a member of the team will provide a running commentary as you get a sea view of the stunning Flamborough Cliffs and its birds.

Alternatively if you only intend to visit South Landing briefly then I recommend walking from the car park along the Sculpture Trail, which will take you through beautiful woodland, across a small stream, through farmland and onto the South Landing Cliffs, which offer spectacular views of the North Sea and anything that should happen to fly by. If you look to your right, you'll be able to see the town of Bridlington and the numerous wind farms that lie a little further along the coast. If you fancy a gentler walk though, then simply walk out of the car park, back onto South Sea Road down towards the beach. Its only a fairly small beach, and of course you have to be mindful of the tide, but it is a wildlife lovers paradise. The shoreline is a haven for waders such as redshank and dunlin and also gulls such as black headed and herring gulls. Although if you look closely, you may spot something rarer such as a Mediterranean or yellow-legged gull. From the beach, you have panoramic views of the sea stretching for miles, which during migration season offers the chance of spotting rarities such as a long-tailed skua/jaeger or a sooty shearwater.

South Landing

A photo of South Landing Beach taken by yours truly on the 13/08/2018.
A photo of South Landing Beach taken by yours truly on the 13/08/2018. | Source
Another of South Landing Beach taken by yours truly on the 13/08/2018.
Another of South Landing Beach taken by yours truly on the 13/08/2018. | Source
Common Redshank (left) and Dunlin (right) are a common sight along the shoreline at low tide on the South Landing.
Common Redshank (left) and Dunlin (right) are a common sight along the shoreline at low tide on the South Landing. | Source

Danes Dyke

Driving back down the B1255 going through Flamborough Village you will come across signs for Danes Dyke. Admittedly I've yet to explore the Dyke myself in any great detail, but am hoping to rectify that in the near future.

The Dyke is essentially a 2 mile long ditch and Local Nature Reserve coated on either flank by a swathe of mixed deciduous woodland, including the now rare English elm tree. These in turn provides vital shelter for woodland birds and other animals, and is often the first stop for winter migrants from Scandinavia including thrushes such as fieldfares and redwings.

On first glance, you may think that Dyke has Viking origins on account of its name, but its history actually stretches back into the deep mists of time, before recorded history. The famed archaeologist Pitt Rivers excavated the site in 1879 and found a series of ancient arrowheads. These have since been dated to the Bronze Age, making them at least 3000 years old.


Where To Stay?

If you read my recent article on Bempton Cliffs, which are just a few miles up the road from Flamborough Head, you may remember that I recommended the Village Farm B&B for anybody wishing to stay in the area. I would like to reiterate that recommendation, as it is quite simply top notch, but also affordable. It is also just a few miles away in the sleepy village of Skipsea. If you happen to book a stay there between May and July, you will wake up to both the sight and sound of dozens of common swifts wheeling and darting literally yards above your head, giving you your own free aerial display to start the day off with.

So that's Flamborough Head, hopefully I've inspired you some of you to pay it a visit one day. If any of you do pay it a visit, or Bempton Cliffs or anywhere else on the East Yorkshire coast then feel free to comment below or drop me an Email.

© 2018 James Kenny

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • JKenny profile imageAUTHOR

      James Kenny 

      3 months ago from Birmingham, England

      Ah I'll have to remember that next time I'm up there. I'm back up there in November so that pint might be a good shout if the weather is foul.

    • JKenny profile imageAUTHOR

      James Kenny 

      3 months ago from Birmingham, England

      No problem Peggy glad you liked it. Thanks for stopping by.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      3 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Got his cum-uppance at Whitehaven, did John Paul. Fancied setting fire to the coal ships moored there but - typically - the weather came down in favour of the motherland.His men trooped off into town with the aim of creating havoc and got p***ed instead. So much for the glorious revolution, but it says a lot for Cumbrian ale! Fancy a pint of Jennings' "Wainwright" ?(there's a bar at the Bay Hotel at Robin Hood's Bay named after him at the end of the Coast-to-Coast Walk, and it's a free house!)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Thanks for showing me more of the coastline in that part of the UK and what there is to see and enjoy. It truly looks beautiful!

    • JKenny profile imageAUTHOR

      James Kenny 

      3 months ago from Birmingham, England

      Cheers again Alan, well I like to give personal recommendations rather than just reel off loads of names.

      I actually found the John Paul Jones oddly fascinating even though it was an embarrassing defeat for our country. Interesting little tidbit of history.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      3 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      I see you managed to work in John Paul Jones into this page. One to 'keep sweet' with our cousins from across the Pond.

      Your girlfriend's got a good eye for a picture, tell her. Very nice shot across the cliffs in a very 'cliffy' area of Yorkshire. And of course you went straight in for the jugular with your account of the watering holes and accommodation. Tha's an 'onnerary tyke, tha knows!'

    • JKenny profile imageAUTHOR

      James Kenny 

      3 months ago from Birmingham, England

      No problem Linda although sadly I don't live in the area, I'm just a frequent visitor but the dream is to someday settle down there.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for sharing the lovely photos and the information, James. You live in a beautiful area.

    • JKenny profile imageAUTHOR

      James Kenny 

      3 months ago from Birmingham, England

      Thanks for the feedback Alistair. It doesn't matter how much you proofread there are always errors that you miss. I've updated the article accordingly. Thanks again.

    • JKenny profile imageAUTHOR

      James Kenny 

      3 months ago from Birmingham, England

      Thank you Liz.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      This is a top class article with exceptional photos.

    • profile image

      Alistair Rose 

      3 months ago

      I enjoyed your article about Flamborough Head, however there some errors in the text in the section about North Landing the 4th paragraph reads ‘The clifftops of at the North Landing offer ’ shouldn’t this read ‘The clifftops at North Landing offer’ ?

      I also don’t think you need to call them The North Landing and The South Landing, purely North Landing and South Landing is sufficient.

    • JKenny profile imageAUTHOR

      James Kenny 

      3 months ago from Birmingham, England

      Yes I'll have to update the article and mention Danes Dyke. Truth is that I've yet to explore it but I aim to rectify that in the near future. Thanks Christine.

    • profile image

      Christine Jones 

      3 months ago

      Good account of things to see on Flamborough Head. As a long time ago resident I have to emphasize the boat trip at North Landing. It's the best boat trip I've taken in my 80 odd years. Gives close up views of birds, and caves and water-life. The coble is a specially designed boat for the North Landing and has operated out of the bay as fishing and crab boats for literally centuries. Such history! Also a mention of Danes Dyke would complete the history. Truth is, Flamborough Head has more fascinating history than can be covered in a short article -- but so glad you wrote what you did. It is my most favorite place in the whole world and I've seen a lot of the whole world in my life time.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)