The Headland area was designated a Local Nature Reserve in spring 2002.
This demonstrates East Riding of Yorkshire Council's commitment to nature conservation and countryside access for all.
Your walk begins 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 3½ k.w. electric lamp bulb is magnified through prisms each weighing 3 tonnes to produce 3.5 million candle power. 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 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.
Beyond is South Cliff and Hedge Nook, the home of the largest housemartin 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, so you can see how far the headland has eroded over thousands of years.
As you continue to walk you enjoy views of Bridlington in the distance, and then reach a path leading northward. Follow the path along field headlands past Old Fall Plantation, a haven for migrating and local birds. On the way you will see an octagonal chalk tower which was the 'old' Flamborough Lighthouse (see 'Features of Interest' below).
There was a need for a lighthouse as, during 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 a marine telegraph station.
Although unsafe at present, it is hoped that one day the lighthouse will 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. They say that if you can see the top of the old lighthouse whilst sailing round the headland, you are in safe waters.
On your walk you pass a number of chalets, all home-built and with names that reflect their owners. More usual names include "Sea Breezes", "Cliff End", "East View", "Bay View" and "Lightcliff", whilst exotic examples are "Beauregard", "Euretta" and "Stella Maria". Two names sum up the feel of the area in different seasons: "Happy Days" and "Gale Force"!
As the headland is eroding please do not walk close to the cliff edge.
The octagonal chalk tower ('old' Flamborough Lighthouse) is patched in places with red brick. Built by Sir John Clayton in 1673, it 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.
Some 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.
The map below shows the route for this walk however you can view or download the map as an A4 pdf file from the link below
Map and information courtesy of East Riding of Yorkshire County Council
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