Large rise in visits to nature reserves

Flamborough's Living Seas Centre opened in 2013 when 10,500 people visited. This figure increased to 24,000 in 2017.
Flamborough's Living Seas Centre opened in 2013 when 10,500 people visited. This figure increased to 24,000 in 2017.

The number of visits to East Yorkshire nature reserves by wildlife watchers has more than doubled in the last eight years, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has revealed.

Star species at the sites include puffins on Flamborough Headland and England’s largest mainland gannet colony at RSPB Bempton Cliffs. Last year was also a record year for whale and dolphin sightings.

Most visitor numbers have increased at reserves where new visitor facilities have opened – including Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Living Seas Centre at Flamborough and at Tophill Low Nature Reserve.

The majority of visits were day trips from home and a third of people interviewed were holidaying in the area.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s chief executive Dr Rob Stoneman said: “East Yorkshire is one of the best corners of the UK to watch wildlife and enjoy the outdoors, as more and more people are discovering.

“From our stunning coastline to the peaceful and historic Wolds, visitors will find spectacular places to see wildlife alongside all the creature comforts they might want or need.

“Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, alongside others including Yorkshire Water, RSPB and East Riding of Yorkshire Council, are investing in and promoting nature reserves and visitor facilities so that everyone can enjoy, learn about and ultimately care for our wildlife and wild spaces.”