Discover East Yorkshire's wildlife
There are over 30 nature hot spots in eastern Yorkshire which are designated havens for wildlife both inland and on the North Sea shore. Contact us to receive the Yorkshire Nature Triangle free guide to the best wildlife spots in and around East Yorkshire.
The RSPB nature reserve at Bempton Cliffs near Bridlington feature the largest chalk sea cliffs in eastern Britain and is home to England's largest mainland seabird colony, with over 200,000 nesting seabirds including gannets, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars. Around 2,500 puffins also breed on the cliffs, the best time to see them between April and July. On three miles of clifftop footpath there are seven viewing points with breathtaking views.
In April 2015 Bempton's newly extended visitor centre was opened. Drop into the Seabird Centre for close up views of nesting seabirds on CCTV as well as refreshments and information throughout the year. Dogs are welcome as long as they are kept on a lead at all times. Entry is free of charge to RSPB members.
Seabird and Coastal Cruises
Yorkshire Belle - Bridlington Harbour
For a closer look at one of the UK's most important seabird sites, the RSPB run special cruises out of Bridlington harbour aboard the pleasure cruiser Yorkshire Belle. The three hour cruises are ideal for both beginners and experienced enthusiasts taking you along the chalk cliffs between Flamborough Head and Bempton Cliffs. Volunteers from the RSPB are on board to help passengers identify the birds, answer questions and provide a commentary. The cost is around £20 for adults, £10 for children 16 and under (children 2 and under sail free). Booking essential. For further details or to book, telephone the cruise co-ordinator on 01262 850959.
Shorter cruises on the Yorkshire Belle also operate daily between April and October (weather and sea conditions permitting) out of Bridlington harbour to see the spectacular coastline, Bempton Cliffs and Flamborough Head. The boat has inside and outside seating and a licensed bar. A one hour cruise is around £5.00 for adults and £2.50 for children. Two hour and half hour cruises are also available. Sailing times are often posted on the Yorkshire Bell Facebook page.
Coastal Cruises - North Landing (Flamborough)
For a more informal and traditional way to get a seal's-eye view of all the action along the cliffs, the Emmerson family operate short 30-45 minute cruises from North Landing on summer afternoons when the tides allow. You'll hop aboard their classic Yorkshire fishing 'coble', launched straight off the beach and getting you much closer to the sea cliffs and seabirds than larger vessels. With a renowned fishing heritage, the family provide a great commentary, or look out for special Yorkshire Wildlife Trust 'Seabird Safaris' with additional experts on board. Prices start from £5 for adults and £2.50 children.
Tophill Low Nature Reserve
Yorkshire Water's Tophill Low Nature Reserve has a growing reputation as one of the best places to see an array of wildlife in Yorkshire; from the iconic kingfisher, to regular sightings of otters, grass snakes and orchid-filled meadows in summer. Autumn and winter find colourful ducks arriving in their thousands, all enjoyed from 12 viewing hides and a new viewing gallery (opened in 2017) with displays and nest cameras.
The reserve is open every day of the year 9am - 6pm (Reception hide is open when staffed). Admission for adults is £3.50 and £1.80 for concessions. Please note dogs are not allowed on the reserve or to be kept in cars.
North Cave Wetlands
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's North Cave Wetlands is fast becoming an unmissable destination for bird watchers visiting the region. A fully accessible picnic and viewing area looks out across colonies of avocets, with additional hides along a mile of attractive trails with dragonflies and butterflies for company. Migration brings the chance of rare wading birds or wildfowl, and birds of prey include peregrines, marsh harriers and the occasional red kite.
Hornsea Mere is the largest freshwater lake in Yorkshire at over 2 miles long, with an impressive list of wildlife residents for those willing to seek them out. Marsh harriers, bitterns in winter and otters are joined by warblers in the lakeside reeds and adjacent woodlands.
The mere is open every day with free entry and car parking. The café serves good quality food (check opening times during winter).
Day tickets (£2.50) to the wood and new viewing hide are available from East Lodge, Wassand Estate main entrance.
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's Flamborough Cliffs coastal reserve has cliff top walkways with excellent vantage points to spot puffins, gannets and other seabirds, dropping down to superb rockpools and sea caves during low tides at North Landing and Thornwick Bay, when birds such as oystercatchers, turnstones and redshank can be seen. The nature reserve stretches for a total of 1.5 miles either side of North Landing. Thousands of seabirds nest on the cliffs, the best time to see them from April to July. The reserve offers year round interest with an abundance of different wildlife, plants and flowers on the cliff tops and surrounding fields managed by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.
Living Seas Centre
The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Living Seas Centre at South Landing is dedicated to the North Sea's amazing marine wildlife. Join guided walks and Seashore Safaris which run regularly at weekends and during school holidays, or in the centre itself, get stuck in to a range of natural arts and crafts when the weather turns. You'll also find the very latest news on sightings of birds, whales and dolphins in the area.
A five minute walk down to South Landing will find you on 300m of perfect rock pooling beaches, or head up high for clifftop stroll overlooking the headland.