Walks: Flamborough's impressive headland

Flamborough village is only about three miles north east of Bridlington and has always seemed to me like a second home. With its remains of a castle, a medieval fortified manor house and quaint pubs, it alone has much to offer. However, take the B1255 North Marine Road out of the village to seek Flamborough's coastline and impressive headland.
Flamborough. Picture: Ian DayFlamborough. Picture: Ian Day
Flamborough. Picture: Ian Day

Those seeking peace and quiet, can take a cliff-top stroll of breath-taking beauty. The towering white chalk cliffs, up to 400ft in height are home to thousands of seabirds. The caves and eerie coves remind one of Flamborough’s smuggling days when contraband was unloaded at night.

Fishing boats are located at North Landing, from where this walk starts, and on the headland you’ll discover two lighthouses and golfing. Botanists and ornithologists will be enthralled by the wildlife. Park in the spacious car park at North Landing. It may well appear busy at weekends, but walkers soon escape any crowds near the cafe or bar.

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Leaving the car park head towards the cliff, with refreshments to your right and seating off left, overlooking the sea. Having checked the times of high tide, plan your day accordingly and ensure a good low tide for exploring the Smuggler’s Cave at North Landing. This also provides an opportunity for delving into rock pools for hidden treasures of starfish and crabs etc but please leave them there.

Take a cruise or go fishing as fancy takes, but do return to the cliff top for a superb stroll with spectacular views.

With holiday chalets to your right, descend a narrow path beside a steep gully to a seat. The path swings towards 15 steps which ascend to the cliff top. Admire chalk white cliffs and caves, with a variety of gulls, kittiwakes and jackdaws to identify. Listen to skylarks soaring high above.

Reaching an information board keep straight forward, noting wild flowers along the way. My favourite is Thrift, with rosy pink flowers and rosettes of narrow fleshy leaves.

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Beyond a second information board your footpath is hemmed between fencing, leading to a third farming and wildlife board, and Flamborough Headland storyboard. Please read, before continuing between gateposts towards the lighthouse.

Keep to the cliff path, and look down to the foot of cliffs or ledges to view shags. They fly low over the sea. In summer they are a dark glossy green, and sport a crest on the head. Arable fields and golf course feature, before your path winds downhill. A sign points right to Cliff End Cafe, but our stop was just ahead. Ascend 27 steps to a picnic table and seating midst bluebells and red campion in season. Just the spot for a flask of coffee!

Another ascent of about 18 steps to the cliff top, with plenty of seating here. Don’t miss the trig point indicating distances to Lands End and John O’Groats 362 miles, and Amsterdam 236 miles etc. There’s a family restaurant and cafe, Headlands gift shop and toilets.

The lighthouse before you was built in 1806. Visitors are welcome to mount the winding steps to view the Victorian, rotating lens. Tours include the lamp room for fabulous views during summer.

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Adjacent to the lighthouse is private property, ‘Trinity House’. Take the next broad walkway towards the fog signal station. Keeping it to your left, cut across the turf on the middle ‘path’ leading to a remote bay which is accessible by path and steps if desired.

Keep to the coastal path beside a stubble field, and from a post go down to meet wooden rails leading by arable fields and rape etc. Shortly, a map indicates the site of Old Fall and New Fall some way ahead. [You can see Old Fall Plantation from this point].

Reaching a 3-finger post, halt. Here, leave the coastal path and turn right to head for Lighthouse Road three quarters of a mile. This long, straight foot path is in line with hedging throughout its length. Hawthorn and apple blossom are a joy in season.

At the far end, access Lighthouse Road by steps, and take care if dogs or children accompany you.

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[There’s a lay-by to the left if anyone wishes to pick you up here to shorten the walk.] Otherwise, turn right to discover the original lighthouse.

This is built a little further inland to the one previously seen. It’s situated on one of the greens at Flamborough Head Golf Club. Built in 1669, it is one of the oldest in the country and is known as the chalk tower.

Passing the ‘tower’ on your left, your route returns to North Landing along your outward-going cliff path. Lovely to view it again in reverse.

With your six mile route accomplished, why not complete your day out with a delicious, freshly-caught crab for tea?

Distance: 6 miles as arrowed. Allow three hours.

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Refreshment: North Landing and Flamborough Head near the lighthouse.

Note: Take an extra layer of clothing, binoculars and identification books for birds and wild flowers.

Map recommended: Ordnance Survey Explorer 301 Scarborough, Bridlington and Flamborough Head.

Scale: 2.5 inches to 1 mile.