RSPB Bempton Cliffs

RSPB Bempton Cliffs Accessibility Review

Bempton Cliffs near Bridlington in East Yorkshire is a clifftop reserve and nesting ground for over 250,000 sea birds. Gannets, Kittiwakes, Razorbills, Guillemots, Puffins, Herring Gulls and Fulmars to name a few. The cliff-top reserve is also filled with land-based-birds including Short-eared-owls, Tree Sparrows, Linnets, Jackdaws and more.

The visitors centre includes access to an accessible toilet, café, shop and education points and outdoors there are a range of wheelchair accessible picnic benches. There are even interactive camera points with live feeds from the cliffs.

After a pee and a coffee you can then head off into the reserve. There is a short fully accessible circuit with faux-gravel resin paths. There are a few steep hills but nothing I couldn’t manage on my own. If you’re in a less sporty wheelchair you might need a little push up the hills.

Once you head down to the cliffs you’ll come to the first few viewing platforms. They are wooden platforms with surround fences accessed via short shallow ramps. On each side of each platform there are wheelchair accessible view points with lowered fences and slightly more leg room so you can wheel a little closer.

You can see from the photos just how smooth and level it all is. The paths on the wheelchair circuit are all this good. The edges of the path are usually totally level but with no edging so it blends smoothly from path to grass. It makes Bempton easily the most accessible place I’ve ever been bird watching.

Their commitment to accessibility goes a little further too, their website has an extensive access statement. Including this video showing wheelchair access.

You can see from that clip just how smooth the paths are. As you venture off the beaten-track a little you come to some slightly less accessible paths!

These not-so-accessible paths are really for those with off-road capabilities. There are steep hills, potholes, uneven tracks and narrow paths that leave you with one wheel 3 inches higher than the others. That said, I did make it to both of the furthest view points. I was also pleasantly surprised to see wheelchair friendly sections on ALL the platforms not just the ones on the accessible paths… Mum then reminded me that they own a tramper so that made perfect sense!

I must say the struggle down to the lowest end was 100% worth the effort. The view over the nesting Gannets was incredible. Reach-out-and-touch-me close. I was absolutely stunned.

Gannet with nesting materials

I have honestly never witnessed anything so incredible as a huge flock of Gannets circling the cliff tops collecting nesting materials.

I usually like to finish access reviews with things I’d like to see improved…but I can’t think of any. There are educational posts, clear signs, maps available, helpful staff, fantastic wheelchair access throughout and step free smooth paths throughout. I 100% recommend a trip.

If you’d like to have a look at my photos please do head over to flickr. I’d love to know what you think.

As always questions and comments are welcome. If you have any photos of your own or stories about your visit please do share!

JBOT

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