From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present
Spurn Point
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Spit
Yorkshire
53° 34' 33.44" N 0° 6' 41.23" E
TA399108
Good
Unknown
£3
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Spurn Point also known as Spurn Head , is a narrow sand spit on the tip of the coast of Yorkshire. It reaches into the North Sea and forms the north bank of the mouth of the Humber estuary. It is over 3 miles long, almost half the width of the estuary at that point, and as little as 50 yards wide in places. The southern most tip is known as Spurn Head or Spurn Point and is the home to an RNLI lifeboat station and disused lighthouses.

In the Middle Ages, Spurn Head was home to the port of Ravenspurn, which was the site of Edward IV's landing when he returned from his six months' exile in the Netherlands. An earlier village, closer to the point of Spurn Head, was Ravenser Odd. Along with many other villages on the Holderness coast, both villages were lost to the encroachments of the sea.

The lifeboat station at Spurn Head was built in 1810. Owing to the remote location, houses for the lifeboat crew and their families were added a few years later. The station is now the only one in the UK which has full-time paid staff.

In World War I two coastal artillery 9.2 inch batteries were added at either end of Spurn Head, with 4-inch and 4.7-inch quick firing guns in between. The emplacements can be clearly seen, and the northern ones are particularly interesting as coastal erosion has partly toppled them onto the beach, revealing the size of the concrete foundations very well.

As well as a road, the peninsula also used to have a railway, parts of which can still be seen. A feature of Spurn is the black and white lighthouse near to the end of Spurn. Now just an empty shell not used since it was closed down in October 1986. There have been many Lighthouses on Spurn over the years the first recorded at around 1427. The present light was completed in 1895. The small tower on the beach on the Estuary side was originally the low light. It was built and put in to operation at around 1852. This light was no longer needed when the present lighthouse was complete. At a later date the light was removed and it was used as a store for explosives and later as a water tower. The tank can still be seen on the top. It used to have a raised walkway from the shore to the lighthouse so it could be reached at all stages of the tide. The only light on Spurn today is a flashing green starboard light on the very end of the point and the fixed green lights marking the end of the Pilots jetty.

The peninsula is made up from sand and shingle eroded from the Holderness coastline washed down the coastline from Flamborough Head. Material is washed down the coast by longshore drift and accumulates to form the long, narrow embankment in the sheltered waters inside the mouth of the Humber estuary. It is maintained by plants, especially Marram grass. Waves carry material along the peninsula to the tip, continually extending it; as this action stretches the peninsula it also narrows it to the extent that the sea can cut across it in severe weather. When the sea cuts across it permanently, everything beyond the breach is swept away, only to eventually reform as a new spit pointing further south. This cycle of destruction and reconstruction occurs approximately every 250 years.