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RSPB Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserve

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RSPB Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserve

Welcome to's information on RSPB Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserve.

Bempton RSPB

The chalk cliffs at Bempton form part of England's largest seabird colony between Flamborough Head and Bempton. Over 250,000 seabirds breed on the reserve alone. As well as managing reserves such as this the RSPB also works for the better protection of the marine environment.

Sea Bird City

We are an all-year round reserve and while the seabirds do leave the cliffs in late October, the gannets start coming back as early as January. And we are a stop-off point for migrating birds during autumn.  The spectacle, noise, activity and smell all contribute to an overwhelming and memorable experience. As many seabird colonies are on remote islands, Bempton offers a rare opportunity to see breeding seabirds at close quarters from five cliff-edge viewing platforms.

Puffin at Bempton RSPB

The best time to see the puffins is between May and early July when they regularly visit their young with small fish. By August, the young puffins have left the cliffs to spend the winter on the North Sea. Bempton has the largest mainland gannet colony (gannetry) in Britain. Gannets can be seen here from January to November, but they are most active between April and August when they are breeding. They will travel up to 60 miles (100 kilometres) from the colony to find food. When fishing gannets can dive from heights of up to 130 feet (40 metres), entering the water at up to 60 mph (95 kph). You may see some diving for food not too far out to sea.

Other Seabirds

Six other species of seabirds nest at Bempton Cliffs. Kittiwakes are the most numerous.  Look out for the distinctive gliding flight of fulmars around the cliffs. They may look like gulls, but are members of the petrel family.  Herring gulls and a few shags also nest on the cliffs. packed onto the cliffs. This member of the gull family can be most easily identified by its 'kittiwaak-kittiwaak' call. Guillemots and razorbills also nest on the narrow cliff ledges. Guillemots are browner than razorbills and have long, dark dagger-like bills. Razorbills have broader, flattened bills, with a vertical white line near the tip.

Other Wildlife

Along the cliff top in spring and summer a variety of plants flower, including red campions, greater knapweeds and tiny yellow bird's-foot trefoils. In June look for the pink flowers of the chalk-loving pyramidal orchids along the top edges of the cliff.

The grassy areas attract a number of butterflies such as small coppers, red admirals, common blues and, in some summers, painted ladies.

Common seals, grey seals and sometimes porpoises can be seen out to sea.

If you would like more information or wish to arrange a group visit, please contact Bempton Cliffs Visitor Centre, Cliff Lane, Bridlington, East Yorkshire YO15 IJF; telephone 01262 422202

Main photo of puffin by Pete Hewitt

RSPB North of England Office, 4 Benton Terrace, Sandyford Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 IQU Telephone: 0191 281 3366 Registered charity no 207076.

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RSPB Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserve

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Contact Details

Telephone: 01262 422202
Postcode: YO15 1JF

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