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Flamborough Cliffs Nature Reserve

Flamborough Head has one of the most important seabird colonies in Europe. In summer the cliffs are packed with tens of thousands of breeding auks, gannets and gulls creating a memorable experience. The chalk grassland, especially in Holmes Gut, is rich in flowers attracting butterflies and a number of uncommon moths.


Flamborough Cliffs nature reserve consists of three sections, Breil, Holmes and Thornwick, each with their own character but all important for the seabird colonies nesting on the 100-foot high sheer chalk cliffs.

For a brief period in the summer the cliffs host internationally important numbers of breeding seabirds including fulmars, herring gulls, kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills and puffins. A small number of shags also breed while gannets, nesting nearby at Bempton Cliffs, can be seen flying past in straggly lines. Landward of the cliff top footpath are grassland fields which host nesting skylark and meadow pipit whose numbers have increased as grazing has improved the habitat.

In Holmes there is an area of gorse scrub which attracts breeding linnet and yellowhammer. At Thornwick the two reed beds, though small, host reed warbler, sedge warbler and reed bunting.

Both the base of the steps into Holmes and near Thornwick cottages are fantastic spots for wildflowers. Growing here in the chalk grassland is bird's-foot trefoil, common spotted orchids and pyramidal orchids. Along the cliff edge there is a beautiful show of delicate pink thrift and occasionally Northern marsh orchid can bloom in profusion.

A number of butterflies are attracted to these flowers including small skipper and ringlet. The nature reserve is also home to the scarce burnet companion moth.


Top Tip:

Catch up with puffins, seen easier here than at any other site in Yorkshire.


In autumn birdwatching interest switches to migration. Out at sea, all four skuas may be seen plus large numbers of common seabirds, divers, grebes and wildfowl. Clifftop fields attract short-eared owl, wheatear and whinchat, whilst berry-laden scrub and wooded areas in Holmes Gut attracts hordes of migrant thrushes, warblers and finches.

Scarce migrants are also frequently seen, including yellow-browned warbler. Throughout the year North Landing provides endless opportunities for rock pooling with starfish, crabs, fish and an array of marine molluscs to be found as well as a rich and varied carpet of seaweeds. Just be careful to watch the tides!


Living Seas Centre

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's Living Seas Centre at South Landing has information and education facilities.

Discover Yorkshire’s Wildlife

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Discover Yorkshire’s Wildlife book, which has detailed information on all of Yorkshire Wildlife and Sheffield Wildlife Trust’s reserves, is available to buy now from our online shop.

Flamborough Birds Observatory

Flamborough Bird Observatory logoPlease take a moment to visit our partner's, the Flamborough Bird Observatory, website for more information on birds seen around the area.

Public Transport

Regular bus service from Bridlington, closest train station is at Bridlington.


From Flamborough village follow the B1265 signposted for North Landing. The road terminates above North Landing with a car park on the left.





Want to see more of Flamborough Cliffs before your visit? Have a look below.

Our favourite Flamborough Pictures

Flamborough Cliffs Nature Reserve photos in our Flickr group

Flamborough Bird Observatory



Nearby nature reserves

Filey Dams Nature Reserve
10 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Snakeholm Pastures
15 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Burton Riggs Nature Reserve
15 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Flamborough Cliffs, North Marine Road
East Riding of Yorkshire
YO15 1BJ
Map reference
TA 239 720
Great for...
a family day out
geological interest
spring migrant birds
stunning views
Best time to visit
Apr - Oct
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
Gift shop
Visitor centre
Picnic facilities
36.23 hectares

Public footpath runs through the reserve. Contact the Trust for disabled access information.
Walking information
Public footpath runs through the reserve. Please keep all dogs on leads.
Pay and display car park at North Landing, Flamborough. Toilets and Café located near the car park.
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Sheep and ponies graze the grassland tops.
Reserve manager
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01904 659570