Make footprints in the sand along some the East Coast's prestigious Blue Flag beaches
Chapel Point was once part of a major coastal defence line during the Second World War, and restoration work here has included the gun structure and viewing platform. In 1953 flooding devastated this area of coast, after which the sea defences were strengthened. Chapel Point is a favourite location for birders as many overseas birds visit, including the Mediterranean gull.
Park at Skegness and catch a bus to Chapel Point. From the beach huts head south towards Chapel St Leonards. Either strike out along the beach or use the promenade to get there, where you’ll be greeted with a café and pub on the seafront. Situated 3 miles from the shore is the Lynn and Inner Dowsing Offshore Wind Farm. Once fully operational, it will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world.
Between Chapel Point and Ingoldmells, a number of Iron Age and Roman salt-making mines have been discovered on the beach. A good marker in the distance is the outline of Fantasy Island, where you can ride on the Millennium Roller Coaster, the longest looping coaster in Europe. Ingoldmells combines seaside tradition with modern facilities, and there are plenty of cafés.
If your legs are tiring from all that walking on sand, then you could always cheat by catching the sand train (£1), which trundles from Ingoldmells to Butlins. It was the excellent sunshine record of Ingoldmells that encouraged Billy Butlin to open his first holiday centre here in 1936.
Once past the holiday village, carry on walking to Winthorpe, where the Derbyshire Miners Convalescent Home overlooks the North Sea.
Past Winthorpe, the dunes hide views of the North Shore Golf Course, where power from the offshore wind turbines is carried underground and on to a local substation.
Once at Skegness Pier, the seaside springs to life with families gathering behind colourful windbreaks, building sandcastles, playing ball games and enjoying traditional donkey rides.
Skegness is home to the famous Jolly Fisherman, who featured on the famous posters that encouraged people to visit the town in the early 20th century. Walk by the lifeboat station and down Tower Esplanade to the Clock Tower, then along Lumley Road to your car.
Now drive the 3 miles south to Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve, which boasts 1,000 acres of coastal habitats, including both sandy and muddy seashores, sand dunes, saltmarshes and freshwater marshes.
It is not advisable to walk along the beach from Skegness to the reserve, particularly as Greenshank’s Creek is tidal. However, from the visitor centre car park, a network of paths and observation hides enable you to see the major habitats while keeping wildlife disturbance to a minimum.
You can walk either all the way from Chapel Point to Skegness along the beach or use the promenade, which runs between the beach and the coastal road.
HOW TO GET THERE
By car: Park at the cricket ground on Richmond Drive, and cross the road to Skegness Bus Station, where you catch the regular Stagecoach No.1 service to Chapel St Leonards. A connecting bus drops you at Chapel Point.
By public transport: East Midlands Trains run services from Nottingham and Derby. Local coach operators run regular services throughout Lincolnshire.
Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve Visitor Centre
Gibraltar Road, Skegness
Tel. 01754 898057
Natureland Seal Sanctuary
North Parade, Skegness
Tel. 01754 764345
Open all year except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, 10am, closing times vary.
Skegness Tourist Information Centre
Grand Parade, Skegness
Tel. 01754 899887