The Yorkshire Nature Triangle is a unique destination in Britain, offering an almost unrivalled range of wildlife experiences and spectacles from the heart of the Yorkshire Wolds to the imposing 400ft chalk cliffs of the East Coast and the mighty Humber Estuary. Enjoy some of the best in British wildlife, from breath-taking seabird ‘cities’ and birds of prey, to otters, avocets and stunning wildflowers – alongside a renowned, great value Yorkshire welcome.
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Always a surprise
Whatever your knowledge or interest in wildlife, we guarantee that there’ll be something for you – whether it’s your first encounter with a colourful puffin, seeing a red kite soar overhead or the unforgettable glimpse of a whale beneath the waves. The changing of the seasons can always bring something unexpected and no two days are ever the same – so you can come back again and again and always see something new!
Excited about your first wildlife encounter in the Yorkshire Nature Triangle but not sure where to start? Take some inspiration from these seven not-to-be missed experiences!
Colourful puffins on the Flamborough Headland
Between the seaside towns of Bridlington and Scarborough you’ll find a wildlife treasure trove just waiting to be discovered. Every year, between April and August, over a quarter of a million seabirds descend on the cliffs of the Flamborough Headland to breed, offering visitors brilliant views of puffins, gannets, kittiwakes and other seabirds.
The most famous spot is undoubtedly RSPB Bempton Cliffs where you can watch puffins on the cliffs, marvel at the clouds of swirling gannets riding the air above the waves or join in with a Puffin Patrol from the new Seabird Centre. Go a little further east and you’ll come across YWT Flamborough Cliffs, where you can explore the rockpools and sea caves at low tide in Thornwick Bay and North Landing, as well as enjoying great views of puffins and kittiwakes, as you stroll between blankets of pink thrift and orchids. Also regular summer boat trips depart from the beach at North Landing.
Release your inner wild child with a spot of rock pooling at South Landing
Flamborough’s fantastic Living Seas Centre is packed with information about the North Sea’s amazing marine wildlife, with arts and crafts activities on offer to keep younger ones amused. Just five minutes’ walk down the slipway will take you to South Landing, where low tide reveals a spectacular array of rock pools just waiting to be discovered.
The centre also has the very latest on whale and dolphin sightings from across the coast. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust run regular guided walks and family activities from the Living Seas Centre, the perfect way to dip your toe into the wonders of marine life at any time of year.
Mega flocks and mega rarities at Spurn Point
It might feel like the end of the world, but YWT Spurn is just an hour’s drive from the hustle and bustle of Hull. With a true windswept, wilderness feel and the sense that you can get away from anything, Spurn is also one of the country’s top bird migration hotspots.
The sinuous peninsula of YWT Spurn sticking out into the mouth of the Humber acts as a crossing point for birds heading off and coming back from their long migration, making it a top spot for the chance to see something unusual or exotic from neighbouring or faraway shores.
During winter, the vast mudflats of the Humber Estuary attract thousands of wading birds such as knot, dunlin, grey and golden plover which form flocks thousands strong – and never miss the attentions of birds of prey like peregrines, merlin and harriers. The newly renovated black and white-striped Spurn Lighthouse is open to the public and offers several floors of exciting interactive displays about Spurn’s colourful history, and a chance to enjoy the unparalleled view from the 128ft high rooftop.
Otter spotting in the heart of Holderness
Making its way through the wide flat expanses of Holderness, the crystal clear waters of the River Hull are the perfect home for that most elusive of creatures, the otter.
The best place to try your luck at spotting this charismatic mammal is at Tophill Low Nature Reserve, tucked alongside the River Hull in the very heart of Holderness. A mix of wetlands, woodland and grassland surround two massive water reservoirs, providing homes for a whole host of iconic species including otters, water voles, kingfishers, grass snakes and barn owls. Try early morning or a summer’s evening for a slice of the action.
Red kites soaring overhead in the Yorkshire Wolds
Soaring high on invisible thermals, the majestic red kite is the icing on the picture-prefect cake of Yorkshire Wolds scenery.
Life moves at a slower pace amongst the rolling hills and valleys, and the wildlife is best seen whilst on foot, bike or horse.
Ever-alert brown hares dart across fields under the sweet serenade of singing skylarks in spring, whilst pink orchids burst forth attracting clouds of butterflies in June.
Try grassland nature reserves such as YWT Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit.
Booming bitterns and bearded tits
In spring, the booming call of the bittern carries over the reed beds and up into the sky where marsh harriers perform their courtship displays at RSPB Blacktoft Sands.
This large reed bed is home to bearded tits that seemingly ping through the reeds on still summer days, whilst a winter’s afternoon sees marsh harriers, merlin and the occasional hen harrier coming into roost.
Just outside of the Triangle in Doncaster you’ll find YWT Potteric Carr, a fantastic family friendly nature reserve where you can also hear the booming call of the bittern across the reed beds.
Adorable avocet chicks in the Vale of York
Between May and July, the avocets at North Cave Wetlands are busy raising their chicks, alongside other doting wader parents including ringed and little ringed plover, lapwing and oystercatcher.
This growing nature reserve, just seven miles west of Hull, will continue to get bigger and better for wildlife as surrounding quarried land is being restored back to nature.
There’s plenty to see all year round at this bustling nature reserve thanks to a patchwork of open water, hedgerows, reed beds and muddy banks.
Keep an eye out for the resident populations of great crested grebe, tufted duck and gadwall; in colder months they are joined by visiting ducks such as teal and pintail which spend the winter here.
A large, all-access picnic and viewing area can be found at the reserve entrance, and another accessible bird hide on Dryham Lane gives great 360 degree views of the nesting pools.