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.
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.
We hope you will discover what a special place South Landing is as you wander along the woodland trails, stride through its meadows or explore the seashore.
Discover The Reserve
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 Barrels`n`Bench, 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 you`ll 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.
The following PDF document contains a map of South Landing local nature reserve.
Flamborough South Landing (map)(pdf 316kb opens in new window)
The following word document offers information on safety at South Landing.
Safety guidance notes for Flamborough South Landing (word 16.23kb opens in new window)
The Flamborough Head European Marine website offers information on all aspects of Flamborough Head.
Flamborough Head European Marine Site (external website)