South Landing Nature Reserve
Welcome to South Landing Nature Reserve
This Local Nature Reserve is a special place where the sheltered woods, stunning cliffs and salty seashore are all full of surprises. Located on the magnificent Flamborough Headland overlooking Bridlington Bay, South Landing beach is a beautiful expanse of sand and chalk pebbles. It is a perfect spot for a family day out where you can have a picnic then explore the rock pools or sit and watch the seabirds on the wing.
South Landing was declared a Local Nature Reserve in 2002 in recognition of its wildlife value and its importance to the local community. Local Nature Reserves aim to protect places of special interest and provide opportunities for research, education and informal enjoyment.
The reserve is part of one of the finest stretches of coastland on the east coast, and is the most northerly outcrop of coastal chalk in the British Isles. This unique sea and cliff environment is protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and its seabird colonies mark it as a Special Protection Area. The offshore environment has been identified as a Sensitive Marine Area and a Special Area of Conservation. In 1979 the area was designated a Heritage Coast due to its rich history and landscape.
Fishing has always been important here. Evidence has been uncovered revealing a medieval harbour. Today the strong influence of the sea in our lives is marked out on the bridge spanning the stream. Look for the inscriptions of cobles, small local fishing boats that worked from the harbour. Turn back and spot the names of whales, hinting back to a time when they were viewed very differently.
Discover The Reserve
South Landing is one of the places of interest on the Headland celebrated by the Flamborough Waymarkers Project. Five important landmarks stand on the coast at North Landing, South Landing, the Lighthouse and each end of Danes Dyke. Each hand-carved timber waymarker depicts a figure that is important to the heritage of Flamborough. At South Landing you can see a fisherman standing next to the Lifeboat Station. A walk around the Headland to each landmark covers over 12 km.
South Landing is a peaceful reserve with a woodland nature trail, pretty wild flower meadow and a pebble beach that is great for rock pooling!
Exploring the Nature Trail
The circular trail winds its way along the wooded valley of the reserve and along the cliff tops, where there are fantastic panoramic sea views. Stop at the bird feeding station and peep through the willow screens to watch the birds on the tables and feeders. South Landing is an important reserve for tree sparrows, whose numbers have declined across the country by 95% over recent years. The tree sparrow is by far more of an elegant bird than the house sparrow, and has a beautiful chestnut coloured head and black spot on its cheek. Tree sparrows are farmland birds often living at the edge of a village, unlike house sparrows that prefer life inside the village! Please bring bird friendly food to help feed these birds throughout the year.
The nature trail, along with the rest of the Flamborough Headland Heritage Coast is a great place to discover wild flowers, and over 350 species have been recorded here. In the meadow colourful vetches and marsh orchids bloom, in the woods yellow celendine and primroses scatter themselves amongst the trees and on the cliffs pretty pink thrift flowers can be spotted.
Exploring the Sculpture Trail
The nature trail also features the Flamborough Young Roots Sculpture Trail, which was created in 2002. All the sculptures have a different tale to tell, and were inspired from stories told by long-time residents of Flamborough about the heritage of the village and area. A sculpture trail leaflet describing the sculptures is available from the Countryside Access Team.
Many artefacts on the trail originate from the Flamborough area, such as the anchor and burial stone. Other sculptures tell local stories, such as the Flamborough Longsword Dance Lock, which replicates the design made by the dancing of the Flamborough Sword Dancers. The totem pole on the cliff edge features carvings about the sea and further round the trail you can rest on the Rum BarrelsnBench, inspired from the smugglers tales of the coast.
The distinctive Bridging the Gap bridge links the sea and the land. As you walk towards the sea youll spot the names of local cobles on the bridge, and some of these small fishing boats are still working today. Turn back and you will see the names of whale species.
Exploring the Beach
Exploring the seashore can reveal many weird and wonderful creatures that have devised clever ways to be able to survive in this challenging environment. Each time the tide comes in and out they are exposed not only to the air but are in danger of drying up or of being washed away by waves. At low tide the line of the medieval harbour is also visible.
Have a look for creatures hiding in the rock pools as well as those holding fast onto the rocks on South Landing's rocky shore and discover barnacles, limpets, dog whelks, periwinkles, rocklings, starfish and hermit, shore and edible crabs. You may also see neat, cylindrical holes in many of the chalk pebbles, these are made by piddocks. Piddocks are bivalve mulloscs which are similar to mussels; they live on the lower shore and burrow into soft rocks such as chalk.
Access to the reserve from the car park is on the nature trail starting in the southeast corner of the car park. This path, which forms part of the Flamborough Sculpture Trail, has a firm surface, is wide enough for people to walk side by side and is suitable for visitors using a wheelchair. The picnic area located 100 metres along this path is also designed to accommodate visitors using a wheelchair.
Access to the beach is gained by descending a steep flight of 75 steps leading off the trail. Alternatively walk from the car park down the steep road to the Lifeboat Station, but please beware of Lifeboat crew vehicles on the road. There is no parking for visitors at the Lifeboat Station. Horse riding is allowed on the beach between October and March.
Code of Conduct
You are welcome to visit this site on foot. Please note that we do not allow camping, barbeques, horse riding or motorbikes. You can bring your dog but you should pick up after it and it should be kept under close control. Not everyone is comfortable around dogs so please be aware of this when exercising your animal.
Nature Reserves are special places for wildlife, please help keep them beautiful by picking up litter and avoid disturbing wildflowers.
Grid ref: 453050 469522
Parking for 100 cars on upper level, there is a charge. No Parking at lower level except for RNLI and permit holders (fixed penalty charge).
There is an access for all route around the two ponds. A interpretation board will provide you with further information to help you enjoy your visit. Picnic benches are provided.