Spurn National Nature Reserve
Know before you go
Parking informationA dedicated pay and display car park is available on the approach road to the nature reserve, opposite the Spurn Discovery Centre. Parking is free for members of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and residents. Please visit the Spurn Discovery Centre page to find.
Grazing animalsHebridean sheep and longhorn cattle
Footpaths are open all the time (unless inclement weather closes the nature reserve).
Please be aware of the following:
- Tides: Strong currents and soft sand underfoot mean that it is very dangerous to enter the water on the wash over area as the high tide comes in and recedes – please do not make any attempt to cross the sands until all the water has gone. Make sure you get the most out of your day by checking the tide times (please see below) - and which are also on display at the Spurn Discovery Centre
- Inclement weather - for safety reasons the nature reserve may on occasion be closed to the public. Please check back here before you visit for the latest updates.
- Brown tail moth caterpillar: In the scrub around the base of the lighthouse, and along into Chalk Bank, you may notice what look like tents stretched between branches, which are in fact the overwintering silk tents of the brown tail moth caterpillar. Whilst for many these caterpillars are harmless, they can cause itchy allergic skin reactions or respiratory issues for those with asthma or hay fever – so please don’t touch the caterpillars or the tents.
Limited accessibility for wheelchair users.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times (unless inclement weather poses a risk to visitors).
Car park open dawn until dusk.
Spurn Discovery Centre open 9am - 5pm. From Monday 16th July till Sunday 16th September, the Discovery Centre will be open from 9am – 7pm every day and the cafe open 10am-5.30pm everyday.
Best time to visitMarch to November
Spurn is an iconic National Nature Reserve, famous for bird migration, but also for a wide range of other important wildlife and cultural heritage. Birds are the most visible migrants, but impressive movements of insects, including hoverflies, ladybirds, dragonflies and butterflies can occur.
A long, narrow, crooked finger of sand reaching 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.
Due to its prominent position, huge numbers of birds pass through Spurn during the year. The numbers and types of birds varies from week to week and is 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.
Spurn is similarly rich in other 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 seabuckthorn bushes. On the Humber side of Spurn, a strip of saltmarsh exists between the land and the mudflats, supporting colourful flowering plants including sea lavender, sea aster and sea rocket, along with common glasswort and eel grass. Curlew, grey plover and knot use the saltmarsh to roost at high tide. Look out for merlin and peregrine which cause panic among the flocks of roosting wading birds when they start to hunt. Shelduck and brent geese are conspicuous on the mudflats during the winter.
In spring and summer a range of wildflowers appear in the grassland areas which the Trust manages by grazing with sheep and cattle, and also by cutting.
Magenta pyramidal orchids grow here and closer inspection of short grass may reveal the rare suffocated clover. Sea holly grows 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. A look over the sea will not only reveal passing seabirds including locally breeding little tern in the summer but also a chance of a harbour porpoise or even a minke whale.
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. In December 2013, a huge tidal surge inundated large areas of the nature reserve and washed through the narrowest part of the peninsula, removing a long stretch of road preventing vehicle access.
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 the First World War.
In 1819 lifeboat men came to live on the point with their families and did so until 2012. The station is still manned, however, with a full crew.
The Spurn Lighthouse underwent a programme of restoration in 2015, enabling visitors to enjoy the building and find out more about Spurn’s fascinating heritage. See below for more information.
Climb to the top of this 128ft tall lighthouse (the tallest in Northern England), discover its secrets and enjoy unparalleled panoramic views of Yorkshire’s very own ‘Land’s End’.
Spurn Lighthouse sits within the heart of Spurn National Nature Reserve at the end of the Spurn peninsula (as one might expect!). You can make your way to this iconic landmark along the three and a half mile peninsula walk or cycle routes, both of which will take you over the sandy washover area. Please be aware that high tide sees the lighthouse cut off from the mainland, and that it is very dangerous to attempt to cross the washover area when it is covered in water. You can view current tide times from the download available on this page. You may instead choose to climb aboard a Spurn Safari to travel in style. Visit the Spurn Discovery Centre pages to find out more.
The lighthouse is open weekly 12pm to 4pm on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday along with bank holidays. Access outside of these times will be as part of a Spurn Safari*. Please note: There are no toilets at the lighthouse. Toilets are available a short walk away, located at the jetty.
Prices - entry to the lighthouse (not including the Spurn Safari*)
£4 Adults; £3 OAP/Concession; £2 Children; £10 Family ticket (2 adults and 3 children). Tickets can be purchased at the lighthouse. It is free to enter the ground floor.
Children are very welcome, but they must be at least 1.1 metres in height and physically capable of ascending and descending the staircases by themselves unaided. Under no circumstances can children or babies be carried up or down the staircases, (this includes the use of baby carriers, papooses, etc.)
The lighthouse is over a century old so and some stone floors and stairs may be worn and uneven in places, and the staircase leading to the lantern room is very steep. Sensible footwear must be worn if you wish to ascend the lighthouse tower. Open toe sandals without heel straps and flip- flops are not suitable.
You can also choose to include cycle hire or a spurn safari in your trip to the lighthouse. Please visit the Spurn Discovery Centre page for more information, booking and prices.
Spurn Discovery Centre
Jutting out into the mouth of the Humber, Spurn is very much exposed to the elements. Visitors should be aware that there is a 1km 'washover' section of sand which is covered by water at high tide, effectively cutting the end of the peninsula off from the mainland, creating Yorkshire's first 'island'!
Strong currents and soft sand underfoot mean that it is very dangerous to enter the water over the washover section (marked 'Danger' on the map below) – please do not make any attempt to cross the wash-over until all the water has gone. Make sure you get the most out of your day by checking the tide times carefully before you go and pay close attention to the latest information on display once you get there.
Spurn tide times
- Spring: Birds - Whimbrel; Wheatear; Ring ouzel; Plants - Scurvy grass
- Summer: Invertebrates - Red-veined darter; Birds - Little tern; Mammals - Harbour Porpouise; Plants - Suffocated clover
- Autumn: Birds - Woodcock; Wryneck; Whinchat; Yellow-browed warbler; Great grey shrike
- Winter: Birds - Brent goose; Shelduck; Merlin; Snow bunting; Mammals - Harbour seal
None available direct to Spurn.
Follow the A1033 from Hull to Patrington. Turn off (right) to the B1445 towards Easington and Kilnsea. Turn right at the T junction in Easington and continue along the minor road to Kilnsea. Turn right at the crossroads towards the Spurn Discovery Centre. Car park is on your left.