Day out: Spurn Head, East Riding of Yorkshire

Ever-changing sands and a bounty of wildlife make this pendulum-shaped Yorkshire nature reserve one of the most dynamic in Britain.

David Rimmer
Published: July 2nd, 2022 at 6:54 am

Yorkshire’s ‘Land’s End’, Spurn Head is a wild, exposed tidal island. Stroll along the shifting sands, shingle and clays carried down the coast by longshore drift.


Three miles long, but only 50m wide in places, Spurn National Nature Reserve is home to an array of birds, from curlews and grey plovers to knots and merlins. On land, look for roe deer and foxes; at sea, harbour porpoises.

Sand formation on coast
Marram grass is key for holding Spurn’s sand and shingle together/Credit: David Rimmer

Spurn Head walk

Follow the ridge path across dunes and marram grasses. While the island is largely uninhabited, you’ll happen on abandoned structures: two lighthouses, railway remains and wartime battery emplacements. At the lifeboat station on the head, return along the west strand, great for beachcombing. Finish at the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre with a cuppa.


The Trust offers tours of Spurn Point Lighthouse plus a three-hour Spurn Military Safari in its ex-army Unimog truck, an alternative to the eight-mile exploration on foot.


Helen Moat
Helen MoatTravel and nature writer

Helen is the author of Slow Travel The Peak District, Bradt and A Time of Birds, Saraband, a memoir and travelogue describing her journey across Europe to Istanbul on her sit-up-and-beg bike.


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