Flamborough Lighthouse - New Fall

A local walk around the area providing lovely scenery and gentle exercise.

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Flamborough Lighthouse - New Fall

Visit Flamborough Lighthouse but keep away from the edge of the cliffs. Easy flat, cliff edge, field headland and roadside.

Start/finish: Flamborough Lighthouse
Grade: Easy
Length type: Medium
Length miles (kilometres): 2 (3)
OS Explorer map: 301
Car Parking: Lighthouse
Toilets: Flamborough, North Landing.
Refreshments: Cafe near Lighthouse.

The Headland area was designated a Local Nature Reserve in the spring of 2002. This signals the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's commitment to nature conservation and access to the countryside to the wider community, and will help provide better access and promote educational opportunities.

This walk commences at the focal point on the headland, Flamborough lighthouse. The 'new' one was built in 1806 and stands 214 feet above sea level. It is 85 feet high and was built without any outside scaffolding in the short space of 9 months. Its 31/2 k.w electric lamp bulb is magnified through prisms each weighing 3 tonnes to produce 3.5 million candle power and its beam can be seen for 21 miles. The best view of the bay is seen on the path towards the fog horn station which is In fact, the official end of the headland.

Beyond the fog horn is an area known as Mathan Nook and below is Mathan Sand. This is one of the most popular spots to watch the passing migratory birds, including the skuas and shearwater in Autumn. Erosion is taking place on the headland, please don't walk too near to the cliff edge.

Beyond is South Cliff and Hedge Nook, the home of the largest House Martin colony south at the headland. The rock shelf extends far out to sea at low tide at this point. The present rock shelf was once at the base of the cliffs, and it can be seen how far the headland has eroded over thousands of years. A pleasant walk is then taken with views of Bridlington in the distance until a path is reached leading northwards. The path along field headlands is followed past Old Fall Plantation, a haven for migrating and local birds. What can you spot?

On the way you will see an octagonal chalk tower which was the "Old Flamborough Lighthouse." This octagonal chalk tower, patched in places by red brick, was built by Sir John Clayton in 1673 and is believed to be the oldest building of its type in England. Sir John had a Royal Charter to build five lighthouses along the east coast and only when all five had been built were dues from passing ships to be collected to pay for them. As all five were not built, he could not collect any money and the light on top of the tower was never lit. Other old books say that coal fires were lit to give the warning.

At one time, George Mainprize was in charge of the light and had to keep an oak-wood fire burning in the cresset at the top, the wood being stored at the base and the fire stoked every three hours. He also had to count the ships that passed the headland. Different stories may be confusing but always interesting. There was a need for a lighthouse however as in the 36 years before the new one was built, 174 ships were wrecked around the headland. The old lighthouse was, it is believed, used from 1840 until the early part of the 20th Century as marine telegraph station and although unsafe at present, it is hoped that one day it may be open to the public.

Some of the local fishermen still use it as a guide to their crabbing sites as it is on higher ground than the new one and they say if you can see the top of the old lighthouse whilst sailing round the headland, you are in safe waters. You will also pass a number of chalets, all home built and with names that reflect their owners.

There is the obvious "Sea Breezes", "Cliff End", "East View", "Bay View" & "Lightcliff", whilst others are more exotic like "Beauregard", "Euretta" and "Stella Maria". Two say it all, "Happy Days" reflects how one person feels about it and "Gale Force" reflects how it can be in winter. Typically English individuality at its best. What would you call yours?

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