RSPB Bempton Cliffs

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It has long been my ambition to see a puffin so it was a thrill when I recently discovered they nest along the cliffs near Flamborough Head in East Yorkshire: a reasonable day trip for me. I headed for the RSPB reserve at Bempton Cliffs, where, as a member, I could park for free (£5.00 per car for non-members). As it was a clear, sunny day, I decided I would also walk the 3.5 miles along the cliff path to North Landing. I collected a map of the reserve from the shop/cafe where a delightful young man directed me to a viewing point on the cliff edge where a volunteer had set up a telescope trained on the puffins. What joy – my first sight of this comical little bird with its stripy beak and orange feet, just discernible amidst hundreds of guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes. I watched it waddle to the cliff edge and launch itself off into infinity. Happy that I had seen at least one, I set off along the coastal path, serenaded by skylark rising from the red campion covered fields and kittiwake soaring over the sea crying "Kittiwake, kittiwake!" I hadn't travelled far before I came upon a noisy colony of gannets quite close to the path and was able to enjoy their antics of canoodling, competing for mates and nest building. Every so often on my walk I stopped and trained my binoculars on the cliffs, spotting more puffins. Reaching the beautiful beach at North Landing via a steep path, I enjoyed my picnic on the sand before returning along the path to Bempton. I noted that North Landing's Pay and Display car park with toilets and a cafe, was just £1.50 for a full day (£1.00 for up to 2 hours and 50p for just 1 hour): a cheaper option for visitors driving to the area who are not members of the RSPB. There is also (free?) parking and a cafe at Thornwick Bay midway between Bempton and North Landing. Wheelchair users and pushchairs are welcome at Bempton Cliffs where the viewing points are accessible. However, the cliff path can only be undertaken on foot.

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