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The chalk tower near Flamborough Head.
Built in 1674, this is the oldest surviving complete lighthouse in England
Flamborough lighthouse

Flamborough Head is an eight mile (≈11.3 km) long promontory on the Yorkshiremarker coast of Englandmarker, between the Fileymarker and Bridlingtonmarker bays of the North Seamarker. It is a chalk headland, and the resistance it offers to coastal erosion may be contrasted with the low coast of Holderness to the south. There are larger numbers and a wider range of cave habitats at Flamborough than at any other chalk site in Britain, the largest of which are known to extend for more than 50 m from their entrance on the coast. Flamborough Head was featured on the television programme Seven Natural Wonders as one of the wonders of Yorkshiremarker and briefly in the first series of Coast

Special Area of Conservation

Flamborough Head has been designated a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) by the British Government's Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). (Special Areas of Conservation are strictly protected sites designated under the European Community Habitats Directive, which requires the establishment of a European network of important high-quality conservation sites in order to make a significant contribution to conserving the 189 habitat types and 788 species identified in Annexes to this Directive.)


Seabirds such as gannets and puffins breed abundantly on the cliffs, and nearby Bempton Cliffsmarker has a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds reserve. The shooting of seabirds at Flamborough head was condemned by Professor Alfred Newton in his 1868 speech to the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Local MP Christopher Sykes introduced the Sea Birds Preservation Act 1869, the first Act to protect wild birds in the United Kingdom. .

Because it projects into the sea, Flamborough attracts many bird migrants in autumn, and also has a key point for observing passing seabirds. When the winds are in the east, many birders watch for seabirds from below the lighthouse, or later in the autumn comb the hedges and valleys for landbird migrants. Flamborough Head also has a bird observatory. Flamborough Head is the oldest lighthouse place in Britain, dating back to 1674.

Battle of Flamborough Head 1779

A Franco-American squadron fought the Battle of Flamborough Head with a pair of Royal Navy frigates in the American Revolutionary War on 23 September 1779. In the engagement, USS Bonhomme Richard and Pallas, with USS Alliance, captured HMS Serapis and Countess of Scarborough, the best-known incident of Capt. John Paul Jones's naval career. The toposcope at the lighthouse commemorates the 180th anniversary of the battle.

Danes Dyke

Danes Dykemarker is a 2 mile / 3 km long ditch that runs north and south isolating the seaward 5 square miles / 13 square kilometres of the headland. The dyke and the steep cliffs make the enclosed territory and its two boat launching beaches, North and South Landings, easily defended. Despite its name, the dyke is prehistoric in origin, and Bronze Age arrowheads were found when it was excavated by Major-General Augustus Pitt-Rivers in 1879.

In fiction

Flamborough Head and the village of Flamboroughmarker were also the setting for the book Bill Takes the Helm (Betty Bowen, published 1955 by Burke Publishing Company, Londonmarker, England). Summarised, this is about an American boy's fight to save his grandmother's house from destruction by the sea, which he, his grandmother and his sister are living in. He is also desperately trying to get used to England after his mother died and she requested he be sent there in her will.

Lightning strike

During the evening of 23 August 2006, a lightning bolt hit a buttress on the cliffs, sending 100 tonnes of rock into the sea.


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