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Gannet on the cliff edge at Bempton Cliffs RSPB Reserve
Gannet on the cliff edge at Bempton Cliffs RSPB Reserve

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Route No. 623 - Thursday 26 May 2016
Bempton RSPB Reserve, Bempton village, Mill Farm,
Buckton village, Headland Way cliff path
8km circuit - Yorkshire Coast . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 301 Scarborough, Bridlington & Flamborough Head


Looking back to the RSPB Visitor Centre at Bempton as we walked up the gravel path to the bird feeding station
Looking back to the RSPB Visitor Centre at Bempton as we walked up the gravel path to the bird feeding station

One of the jackdaws at the feeding station
One of the jackdaws at the feeding station

There was no car park charge but there is an entrance fee to the reserve (see RSPB web site). From the car park we followed a gravel path from the visitor centre out past the bird feeding station up to the road leading to the car park. At the bird feeding station there were a group of jackdaws that seemed to be keeping everything else away.

The weather forecast for today promised a gloomy overcast day with a risk of showers and as my friend, Jim, and I drove out to the RSPB reserve at Bempton Cliffs we passed through several patches of misty drizzle. Not an auspicious start, but as we arrived at the visitor centre and car park at map ref. TA 197 739, the weather was fine but cloudy and a little brighter than it had been.

Leaving the RSPB site along the lane to Bempton village
Leaving the RSPB site along the lane to Bempton village

Following Cliff Lane towards Bempton village
Following Cliff Lane towards Bempton village

Apple blossom in the hedgerow
Apple blossom in the hedgerow

We were glad of the gravel path off to the left of the road. The roadside verge was full of red campion and the occasional patch of bluebells and other flowers.

We followed the road called Cliff Lane, back towards Bempton village. It's a narrow road and the RSPB site generates quite a bit of traffic.

A patch of bluebells by the roadside
A patch of bluebells by the roadside

Approaching Bempton village along Cliff Lane
Approaching Bempton village along Cliff Lane

Crossing the High Street to Church Lane
Crossing the High Street to Church Lane

Just past the church is the road junction with Gillus Lane. Just beyond the junction on our right hand side there is a small grassed open area and a small pond called The Mere.

When we reached the B1229, High Street, in Bempton village we crossed the road and followed the road opposite, Church Lane, down past the parish church of St. Michael.

St. Michael's parish church seen from Church Lane
St. Michael's parish church seen from Church Lane

Public footpath out to the fields past the village pond, The Mere
Public footpath out to the fields past the village pond, The Mere

Goose & goslings by the pond
Goose & goslings by the pond

Path round the pond
Path round the pond

We turned off the road here and followed a public footpath around the pond. Beyond the pond the path crossed a stile into the fields.

There were geese & ducks here with their broods and the adult geese eyed us suspiciously as we crossed their territory around the pond.

Pair of ducks & ducklings by the pond
Pair of ducks & family of ducklings by the pond

Stile to the path across the fields
Stile to the path across the fields

Path across the fields from the pond
Path across the fields from the pond

One of many stiles across the fields
One of many stiles across the fields . . .

Stile to the road at the railway bridge
Stile to the railway bridge over Bowlam Lane

We followed Bolam Lane under the railway and out to a road junction at Bempton Mill Farm. Here the old wind mill has been converted to living accommodation with panoramic viewing windows at roof level.

We continued along the path across several stiles and a cross a larger field to the road called Bolam Lane where the road passes under the railway at map ref. TA 186 719.

. . . another stile across the fields
. . . another stile across the fields

Approaching the road junction next to Bempton Mill Farm
Approaching the road junction next to Bempton Mill Farm

Bempton Mill Farm
Bempton Mill Farm

Crossing the railway heading for Buckton
Crossing the railway heading for Buckton

Reminder of the old name for Buckton Gate
Reminder of the old name for Buckton Gate

In Buckton at the junction of Buckton Gate and Main Street (B1229), we turned left for a few metres and then turned right off the main road to a rough track, called Hoddy Cows Lane, with a small village pond on the left of the track.

At the road junction we turned right and followed the road towards Buckton and across the railway level crossing. Here the road into Buckton is called Buckton Gate but it used to have the much more colourful name of Mucky Lane.

One of several ponies in small paddocks by the road
One of several ponies in paddocks by the road

Crossing Main Street from Buckton Gate
Crossing Main Street from Buckton Gate

Pond at the start of Hoddy Cows Lane as we left Buckton
Pond at the start of Hoddy Cows Lane as we left Buckton

Pond at the start of Hoddy Cows Lane
Pond at the start of Hoddy Cows Lane

Following Hoddy Cows Lane
Following Hoddy Cows Lane

Passing a newly planted potato field
Passing a newly planted potato field

We continued along the path up to the coast path along the cliff tops. This cliff top path is part of a 26km route from Bridlington called the Headland Way.

There were more geese here by the pond with their brood. We followed Hoddy Cows Lane for about 2km climbing gently between the fields. We passed a large field recently planted with potatoes.

Canada geese and their goslings by the pond
Canada geese and their goslings by the pond

Continuing along Hoddy Cows Lane
Continuing along Hoddy Cows Lane

Colourful mix of self seeded rape & red campion
Colourful mix of self seeded rape & red campion

Turning on to the Headland Way cliff top path
Turning on to the Headland Way cliff top path

At the cliff top we turned right to follow the cliff top path along the coast to the RSPB site at Bempton cliffs. There were several sturdy observation platforms built on the cliff edge and numerous people with expensive looking equipment scouring the cliff face to see thousands of seabirds nesting there. I managed to get photos of kittiwakes, gannets, razorbills and a very poorly puffin. I suspect that the puffin had been the victim of a herring gull attack. The gulls are very much bigger than the tiny puffins and grab them in their beaks in mid flight to take them down to the sea to drown them before swallowing them whole. Sometimes the puffins manage to escape and I think this one got away to find refuge on this ledge near the cliff top, but I fear that it's unlikely to survive the night.

Red campion on the cliff top
Red campion on the cliff top

Following the Headland Way along the cliff top
Following the Headland Way along the cliff top

Sea birds at Bempton Cliffs RSPB Reserve:

Gannets nesting on the cliffs
Gannets nesting on the cliffs

A poorly puffin on a cliff ledge
A poorly puffin on a cliff ledge

Razorbills on the cliff top
Razorbills on the cliff top

Kittiwakes nesting on the cliff ledges
Kittiwakes nesting on the cliff ledges

Gannet on the cliff edge
Gannet on the cliff edge


Every ledge occupied, mainly by kittiwakes,
with razor razorbills and just a few guillimots

Razorbills on the cliff ledges
Razorbills on the cliff ledges

Path back to the RSPB Visitor Centre
Path back to the RSPB Visitor Centre

After spending some time on each of the observation platforms we made our way to the visitor centre and out to the car park at the end of our walk. The whole route had been about 8km and with all our stops along the way it had taken us a little over 3 hours to walk.

Returning to the RSPB Visitor Centre at the end of our walk
Returning to the RSPB Visitor Centre at the end of our walk

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