New visitor centre planned at storm-hit Spurn

One of the region’s most iconic and abundant nature spots is set to benefit from “considerable investment” in its visitor infrastructure over the next few years, the site’s guardians pledged a year after the land was altered forever.

Damage at Spurn Point caused by last year's tidal surge. Pic: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

In December last year, the tidal surge that disrupted homes and businesses on the east coast also wiped out the road to Spurn Point. The freak event created many new challenges but also no shortage of opportunities for Spurn National Nature Reserve’s landowners, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

One of the key challenges for the Trust since then has been how to manage the people who still visit the site which remains internationally renowned for its wildlife - and their quest has been aided by the offer of a donation to the charity from energy firm E.ON.

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The company has been constructing the Humber Gateway wind farm which is visible off the coast, and it has offered the Trust some funding to build a new centre at Spurn to help the Trust cope with the large number of visitors.

In a written update before Christmas, the Trust said: “Views from the centre will be spectacular over the North Sea to the Humber Gateway, and over Spurn and the river to the south.

“The building will nestle in the fields to the south of Kilnsea village, having little visible impact on the landscape and is carefully designed to blend in with its surroundings.

“The building will offer a community room that can be used by local community groups, school parties and others to learn about Spurn’s rich heritage and provide a number of employment and volunteering opportunities for local people. A modest café will offer hot drinks and cakes complimenting the offers in the nearby community. And, most importantly, it will provide a wealth of information to visitors about Spurn’s wildlife, cultural and social heritage, environment and renewable energy.”

Brand new facilities for ringing activities have also been offered to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s tenant, Spurn Bird Observatory, as part of the development project.

Just to the north, a new car park will be created, screened from the village by the careful planting of trees and bushes, the Trust said.

“This will address the current problem created by visitors parking along the road through Kilnsea, which creates a hazard to local people and other visitors.”

Old, condemned military buildings near the entrance to Spurn, known as the Warren, will also be removed.

“The cleared Warren area, together with the car park and pathways connecting the area will be planted with new trees and bushes which will re-naturalise the area and provide valuable shelter for both migrant and breeding birds and other wildlife,” the Trust said.

A planning application for the developments is due to be submitted by the Trust to the local authority in the New Year, at which time there will be the opportunity for members of public to express their opinions about the proposals. “The developments proposed will bring a brighter future for both the wildlife and local people of the Spurn area,” the Trust said.