Flamborough Head is shaped like an arrow head, which may explain the supposed origin of the name, which is believed to derive from the Anglo-Saxon word for arrow head, “flaen”. There is evidence of settlement here dating back at least to the Bronze Age, or possibly even the Stone Age. The rock which forms the headland is chalk, and nearby there is a chalk tower built in 1674, which is the oldest surviving complete lighthouse in England. There is a second, newer lighthouse which was built in 1806. In 1779 the American Revolutionary War reached this coastline with the Battle of Flamborough head, in which Royal Navy frigates engaged with a Franco-American squadron.
This stretch of coast is a magnet for nature-lovers, and is set to become even more so with an ambitious plan to open a visitors centre called the Living Seas Centre, which will give visitors the opportunity to view the local wildlife on land and in the sea by exploring rock pools and taking guided snorkelling tours. Near Flamborough Head is the RSPB reserve of Bempton Cliffs where the birdlife, which numbers some 200,000, includes gannets and puffins.
Map of the area.