Saturday, 10 September 2011

SPURN POINT AND KILNSEA

Moving back out towards the open sea, we come to the mouth of the Humber, where a very distinctive geological phenomenon awaits us: the long, thin Spurn Point, aka Spurn Head. The Point is 3 ½ miles long and in places only 50 metres wide, and amounts to little more than a sand spit, but it manages to pack in a nature reserve with mudflats for wading birds, a bird observatory for migrating birds, the opportunity to view seals, and a disused black and white lighthouse which closed in 1986. In 2008 a family were strolling along the beach here when the children of the family noticed something sticking out of the sand, at first thinking it was just a bit of old wood. However, the object turned out to be a woolly mammoth tusk which had become partially exposed. The children extricated the object and took it to the warden, and it was confirmed by a palaeontologist at Hull University as being the tusk of a woolly mammoth.

The small community of Kilnsea teeters precariously on this spit of land, with a shore on each side: the sandy eastern shore facing the North Sea, and the muddy western shore facing the Humber Estuary. There is a former pub called the Blue Bell Inn which has been turned into a visitor centre. As an example of the shifting geology of this spot, there is a plaque on the former Blue Bell Inn here informing the visitor that the inn used to be 488 metres from the sea, but is now only 174 metres from the sea. Near Kilnsey there is a "listed building" which is not really a building at all but a "sound mirror", a World War One precursor to the radar which consisted of a concrete half-hexagon with a concave circular disc which would have had a trumpet-shaped microphone installed in front of it. The idea was to amplify the sound of approaching German Zeppelins, providing a warning to a Listener stationed in a nearby trench. Further north from Kilnsey, the village of Easington shares its portion of the by now widening peninsula with a large natural gas terminal.


Map
of the area.

'Spurn Head' photo (c) 2009, Martyn Wright - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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