Virtual reality comes to RSPB Bempton Cliffs

Wednesday 16 November 2016

This winter, call in to RSPB Bempton Cliffs to enjoy a taste of island life and experience what life is like surrounded by thousands of seabirds in the heart of a wildlife sanctuary.

Thanks to National Lottery players and Virtual Reality technology, visitors to Bempton Cliffs, near Bridlington, will have the chance to experience life on RSPB Coquet Island, a very special place, about a mile off the coast of Northumberland.

At 'The Island' exhibition, virtual reality headsets will transport visitors to the heart of this internationally important nature reserve and give a 360-degree view of the island, surrounded by the amazing seabirds that make their home there.

Sarah Aitken, Visitor Experience Manager, said: "We're very excited about bringing this innovation to the Seabird Centre. It's a totally immersive experience. Once you put on the headset, you suddenly find yourself standing on rocks and whichever way you look there are seabirds everywhere - it's a bit weird but also quite wonderful."

RSPB Coquet Island is home to a large colony of seabirds, including the rare and beautiful Roseate Tern or 'Rosy', as it's affectionately known. There are also 12,500 pairs of puffins; more than at any other RSPB reserve.

No visitors are allowed onto the island, which is a true wildlife sanctuary, so as not to disturb the peace and quiet of the avian inhabitants. Partly because of this, Roseate Tern numbers there are gradually increasing.

The Roseate Tern is on the Red List of globally threatened species - species that have shown a decline of at least 50 per cent over the past 25 years. But on Coquet there is a small glimmer of hope.

Keith Clarkson, Bempton Cliffs' Site Manager, said: "With the help of the RSPB, this distinctive streamer-tailed seabird is fighting back. In 2015, over 100 nesting pairs were recorded. That number rose to 104 this year and this now represents 90 per cent of the UK's population."

There will be information and short films about the conservation initiatives that take place on this remote RSPB outpost, with live pictures from the island beamed onto the Seabird Centre's big screens at Bempton Cliffs.

Keith added: "Bempton Cliffs has a very close relationship with Coquet Island. As the public aren't allowed on the island, there is no income from visitors. So any surplus made by Bempton Cliffs supports the vital work undertaken there. Not surprisingly, there's a strong bond between the two locations."

'The Island' is running from now until the end of February 2017 in the Seabird Centre at Bempton Cliffs and admission is free.

For more information, visit or look on the Facebook page: RSPB North Yorks & East Riding.

Tagged with: Country: England Topic: Reserves