Spurn Head


Spurn Head is a sandy peninsula on the east coast of Yorkshire that reaches into the North Sea and forms the north bank of the mouth of the Humber estuary. It is approximately 3 1/2 miles long, and in places is only 50 yards wide. Its location in the entrance to a very busy shipping lane, makes it an ideal location for a lighthouse. There have been many Lighthouses on Spurn over the years, the first being recorded about 1425 and the present lighthouse which was completed in 1895. Because of the areas strategic importance it had a large gun battery during both world wars, which was served by a small railway.
I first visited here in 2009, and remnants of the peninsulas past were much in evidence. Bunkers from both wars and even parts of the small railway system were visible. The big tidal surges that occurred in December 2013 were to change everything, washing away evidence of the first and second world war structures, drowning a flock of sheep and killing most of the grass snakes on the peninsula.
The work of volunteers and passage of time have seen the peninsula slowly regain its remote beauty. It is a privilege to walk along its sandy beaches and gaze at its ever changing skies.
The poet Philip Larkin was particularly drawn to its beauty would often cycle out here. He would go on to sum it up in his foreword to A Rumoured City: ‘Behind Hull is the plain of Holderness, lonelier and lonelier, and after that the birds and lights of Spurn Head, and then the sea’.


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