Exposed landmark defies island predictions

IN the aftermath of the biggest surge in living memory, it looked like one of Yorkshire’s remotest landmarks was about to become an island.

A year on visitors have to tramp the three miles along Spurn Point to the head, after a 400m stretch of road was swept away.

Depending on the state of the tide Spurn can now be cut off for several hours, but it is far from becoming an island permanently, says Yorkshire Wildlife Trust project officer Andy Mason.

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Mr Mason says Spurn appears to be doing what Prof John Pethwick, formerly of Hull University, predicted it would do: wash over on the highest tides, creating a series of shallow dunes, which bit by bit moves westwards.

Mr Mason said: “The sea came through but it hasn’t created a channel which everybody predicted it would.

“It is a temporary island on big tides - on neap tides people can just walk across.”

There are around half the normal visitors - around 25,000 came last year - but the lack of noise and traffic has had benefits for wildlife, with birds roosting in areas they wouldn’t normally frequent, and everyone feeling the benefits of the wilderness and solitude.

The only occasional traffic is from Associated British Ports staff who guide ships up the estuary and the lifeboatmen as they swap shifts as they churn through the sand in their four by fours.

Mr Mason has seen remarkable sights like seals surfing as the waves from the Humber on one side and the waters of the estuary meet in the shallow crossing point.

“It is getting less disturbance now as it is not so easy for people to get down now.

“But when we had some beautiful weather a few weeks ago there were lots of people down at the point. They made the effort because they care about the place and want to look after it.”

As for the road there are no plans to reinstate it: “With the beach moving so much there is nothing stable to put it on,” said Mr Mason. *On December 13 YWT are running a Christmas safari at Spurn. Book through their website.