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Spurn National Nature Reserve

Spurn National Nature Reserve

Spurn is open to visitors but please note - following the tidal surge in December 2013 a large section of the road down to Spurn Point was washed away. The road remains closed to vehicles. Access to the point is now on foot only. Please ensure you pay attention to any information given on site regarding the tides at Spurn. See times when not to cross during July and August 2015 here.


Dogs are not permitted on Spurn National Nature Reserve the area is very sensitive and wildlife easily disturbed.


The brown tail moth caterpillars are very prevalent around the lighthouse and Chalk Bank at this time. Please be advised their hairs may cause irritation primarily to the skin.


Spurn Visitor Centre

Find out about the proposals for the Spurn Visitor Centre.


A long, narrow, crooked finger of sand reaches out from the Holderness coast across the mouth of the mighty River Humber.

This is Spurn, one of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's most iconic nature reserves. It is a wildlife-rich mosaic of beach, mudflats, saltmarsh, dunes, grassland, open water, saline lagoons and native sea buckthorn scrub.

Spurn has formed from the sediment, sand and gravels washing down the Holderness coast and by the interaction between the North Sea and the River Humber. In the past, people have tried to fortify Spurn against these dynamic natural processes, but largely these have failed. The Trust now tries to work with nature, rather than against it.


Spurn is rich in wildlife but this may not be obvious at first glance. Plants are the first feature noticed, with the marram grass-topped dunes interspersed with stunted elder and orange-berried sea buckthorn bushes. On the Humber side of Spurn, a strip of saltmarsh exists between the land and the mudflats, supporting colorful flowering plants including sea lavender, sea aster and sea rocket, along with common glasswort and eel grass. Curlew, grey plover and knot also use the saltmarsh to roost at high tide. Look out for merlin and peregrine which cause panic among the flocks of roosting waders when they start to hunt. Shelduck and brent geese are conspicuous on the mudflats during the winter.


Spring and summer sees a wide range of wildflowers appear in the grassland areas which the Trust manages by grazing with rare breed sheep and also by cutting. Magenta pyramidal orchids grow here and closer inspection of short grass around the visitor centre may reveal the rare suffocated clover. Sea holly can be seen close to the road and amongst the dunes. Roe deer are a regular sight in these grassy areas, particularly early in the morning, which is also a good time to see a fox. An hour watching the sea will not only reveal passing seabirds including locally breeding little tern in the summer, but also harbour porpoise and for the very fortunate, a minke or even humpback whale.

Spurn is famous for migration. Birds are the most visible migrants, but impressive movements of insects, including hoverflies, ladybirds, dragonflies and butterflies can occur. Due to its prominent position, huge numbers of birds pass through Spurn during the year. The number and type of bird varies literally from week to week and are influenced by the weather conditions. The adjacent Humber Estuary is of international importance for its vast numbers of wildfowl and wading birds which can be seen on passage in spring and autumn and during the winter.


Top Tip:

Enjoy a brisk walk on a bright winter afternoon to experience a host of birds of prey - short-eared owl, merlin, peregrine and hen harrier which seek prey among the thousands of wintering wildfowl and waders on the Humber mudflats.

This is a dynamic site, constantly changing, moving in a westward direction, as the North Sea and Humber meet. Grazing by Hebridean sheep takes place to manage the habitat ensuring a diversity of species. Regular winter beach cleans also take place to keep the beach free from litter - volunteers are always welcome to take part!

Evidence of Spurn's historical past still exists, including the remains of a railway track, built by the army in 1915 and maintained by them until the 1950s. Old gun emplacements can also be found on the point dating from WWI. Going right back, Spurn was first referenced in the 7th Century!. Since then we know people have set up home here on and off. In 1819 lifeboat men came to live on the point with their families and did so until 2012. The station is still manned, however, will full crew.

Spurn has been recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) since 1957, designated as such shortly before the Trust took over the ownership in 1960. The nature reserve has since received further designations including Special Protection Area (SPA), Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and National Nature Reserve in 1996 showing just what a special place this is.

Read our latest update for news on visitor improvements to the site.


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.


Spurn Bird Observatory

Spurn Bird Observatory logoPlease take a moment to visit our partner's, the Spurn Bird Observatory, website for more the latest information on birds seen on the nature reserve.


Spurn is located c.30 miles east of Hull. From Easington follow the B1445 to Kilnsea. From the village of Kilnsea, the nature reserve begins on the road past the Blue Bell cafe. The car park for the reserve is reached by driving down the side of the Blue Bell. There is no car parking currently on site due to the effects of December's tidal surge.


Want to see more of Spurn National Nature Reserve? Have a look below.

Our favourite photos of Spurn National Nature Reserve

Spurn National Nature Reserve photos in our Flickr group




Nearby nature reserves

Kilnsea Wetlands Nature Reserve
1 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Hodgson's Fields Nature Reserve
5 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Welwick Saltmarsh Nature Reserve
6 miles - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Spurn Head, south of Kilnsea
East Yorkshire
HU12 0UH
Map reference
TA 419 149
Great for...
geological interest
getting away from it all
historical interest
overwintering birds
spring migrant birds
stunning views
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
Visitor centre
Picnic facilities
Disabled toilet
Baby changing
327.04 hectares
Geological Conservation Review Site
Heritage Coast
National Nature Reserve (NNR)
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)
Living Landscape schemes
Outer Humber

Public and permissive footpaths. Contact the Trust for disabled access information.
Walking information
Footpaths are open all the time. Road is closed to vehicles - follow on site instructions. Dogs are not permitted on the reserve, even in vehicles.
Charge for parking for non-members. Coaches by prior arrangement.
No dogs allowed
Grazing animals
Hebridean sheep & longhorn cattle
Reserve manager
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01964 650533