Flamborough head is a tongue of chalk sticking out into the North sea. All of Flamborough head has vertical chalk cliffs which are over 300ft high on the northern side at Bempton where there is an RSPB reserve. They are about 100ft high at the Bridlington side. Flamborough village is about 1 mile from the sea in all directions. There are two routes into Flamborough. One from the Bridlington side of the headland and one from the Filey side.
There are three roads radiating out from Flamborough
- to North Landing and Thornwick bay,
- to the Lighthouse and Silex bay
- to South landing.
Access to the coast on Flamborough Head with car parking
- The Bempton RSPB reserve is on the road which goes from Filey to Flamborough. This has a car park and toilets Bempton has the largest mainland colony of breeding gannets in England. (No access to sea level). While you are there reflect on the fact that when the birds have gone in winter some anglers fish here in the dark just like fishing off a very tall pier. They do have special gear and I would not recommend it.
- Thornwick Bay cafe and car park with scrambly access to the rocky shore (it is a bit of a scramble direct from the cafe but there is a less steep way at the very back of Big Thornwick). Quite a lot of anglers fish here.
- North Landing has steep but easy access down a track and steps to a fine gravely beach from which a few fishing boats launch. They usually are tending their crab pots . They do take trips to view the caves and do shortish angling trips at times as well. This could be a real holiday highlight. There is a cafe, shop, toilets and car park,
- Silex bay and the lighthouse . There are steep steps down to the bay, The cafe, shop, toilets and car park are next to the lighthouse.
- South Landing has fairly steep but easy access down to the beach. The beach is good quality sand but can be very wet and sometimes gets washed away after gales. There is often a big pile of rotting seaweed at high water which can get a bit smelly. There are is also a walk through the woods, an information centre, toilets and car park. South landing is also used by anglers.
- Danes Dyke has fairly steep but easy access down to the small coarse sandy beach. There are nice rocks either side where you can search for creatures. We have even found a sea hare there. There are toilets at the car park with walks in the trees.
There are a few other places anglers climb down the cliffs with ropes to fish but these are dangerous and definitely not recommended. There is even one at Bempton, where the cliffs are over 300ft high!! Do not even go looking for it! I have never been down and have no wish to.
Walking round Flamborough Head
You cannot walk round the headland at sea level. Impossible! There are many places you cannot get along the shoreline even at low water. Some people have tried and of course failed and ended up cut off. There is very deep water at the base of the cliffs in many places. In fact the fisherman can nose there boats right into the vertical cliffs even at low water in some places. One place I fish in my boat has 20 foot of water under me and we are only 20ft from the vertical cliff. I do not know where they got the idea from that you can walk round at sea level.
You can however walk all the way round the cliff tops from Filey to Bridlington but it is a very long walk.
At all the shorelines you can access, you can get cut off as the tide comes in so if you venture onto the rocks make sure you know what the tide is doing and watch your escape route. If there is a lower part of the rock between you and your escape from the shore you are in serious danger. The west side of North landing is probably the most common place for visitors to get cut off . This then requires the coastguard to lead them off by wading or the launch of the Flamborough lifeboat. The North part of Silex bay and parts of Thornwick bay are also places I have seen visitors get cut off. Once I had to radio the coastguard as three lads were cut off under the cliffs between Thornwick and North landing. Flamborough lifeboat rescued them
Must see at Flamborough
I would definitely visit the RSBP reserve at Bempton. To be over 300 feet above a vertical chalk cliff which falls directly into the sea is an amazing feeling. The sea birds are an impressive bonus and with a moderate zoom lens you can get some amazing photos. Look out for the peregrine falcons. They patrol all the Flamborough cliffs from Bempton around to South Landing. They have a lot of food ( sea birds) around them so are quite successful.
Best short walk (approx 1 hour of good pace walking round trip)
Flamborough North Landing to Silex bay and the Light house on the cliff top and back the same way. There are cafes car parks and toilets at both ends. You pass some impressive rock scenery including stacks and coves. There are often fishing boats at sea in the area as well. Plenty of birds do nest on these cliffs but not so many as at Bempton. You should see the gannets flying past although they do not nest here.
Best longer walk at Flamborough (approx 2.5hr of good pace walking)
Park in Flamborough Village and walk out to North landing. Make your way to Silex bay and the Lighthouse on the cliff top.Then carry on the cliff top to South Landing. The section from the lighthouse to South Landing is maybe not as exciting but the views over Bridlington bay are good and this section is much quieter. You can sometimes see wild deer in amongst the farmers crops. At South Landing either go down the steps to the bay and walk up the road from the lifeboat station or carry round the cliff top and into the woods. The latter is slightly further but you do not loose the height and climb again. You then walk back into the village where you left the car.