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Bempton Cliffs receives Heritage Lottery Fund grant

Last modified: 04 July 2013

Gannets with 'necklace'

Over a quarter of a million seabirds make their home on the cliffs at Bempton each year.

Image: Yorkshire Coast Nature

RSPB Bempton Cliffs, on the Yorkshire Coast, has been awarded nearly £640,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to revamp its visitor offer and provide people with an enhanced experience of the UK’s largest and most accessible, mainland seabird colony.

After receiving planning permission from East Riding of Yorkshire Council in May, the nature reserve at Flamborough Head near Bridlington will now use the HLF funds to develop ‘The Seabird Centre’. The four year project will greatly improve facilities for visitors to the site, considered to be the birthplace of seabird protection and home to 200,000 nesting birds including the largest mainland gannet colony in the UK, largest kittiwake colony, and three quarters of England’s razorbills and guillemots.

Keith Clarkson, site manager, said: “Over a quarter of a million seabirds make their home on the cliffs here each year, and the reserve welcomes around 76,000 visitors annually. This development will enable us to ensure our visitor experience is suitable for the volume of visits we receive and will effectively tell the story of the area’s unique seabird heritage.

“Over the years the site has become worn – just through normal wear and tear - with the visitor centre, footpaths, toilets and the car park now in need of an upgrade. With the grant, we’ll be able to provide much better facilities and information for the thousands of school children, community groups and families who visit each year.” 

Fiona Spiers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Yorkshire and the Humber said: “Bempton Cliffs is an internationally important site for nesting sea birds and one of the best places in Europe to see them. The RSPB has been in operation here since the 1960s conserving our naturaheritage; however this grant will make the site much more accessible and create better facilities for the thousands that visit each year. The attraction is a key benefit for the local economy and we are delighted to support the project.”

The HLF grant, along with over £300,000 of funding from the RSPB, will enable the nature reserve to develop its visitor offer through a number of improvements:

·    refurbish and extend the reception building, creating a sheltered space for education, community group and family activities and adding a single storey extension;

·    provide more accessible footpaths, with interpretive rest points, new signs and trail boards;

·    redesign the car park to create additional parking spaces and safe bicycle storage;

·    deliver an activity and events programme to include live and interactive interpretation;

·    undertake seabird monitoring and research to better understand how to protect seabirds and marine life;

·    offer new volunteering and training opportunities.

The funding will also enable the reserve to employ additional staff to help deliver the project.

Keith Clarkson added: “This funding will ensure that our thousands of visitors will continue to engage with, and be inspired by, Yorkshire’s great seabird spectacle, and together we can continue to help give nature a home.”

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