Bucket List ‘Visit 5 different nature reserves’ = ongoing
Gibraltar point is a nature reserve near the sea, situated close to Skegness in Lincolnshire. The coastline is unspoilt and is a haven for wildlife, especially migrating birds. It’s our little bit of calm and peace and quiet. If you’re looking for paths for the kids to run freely along without worries of traffic then this is the day out for you.
Gibraltar point was flooded by some two metres back in 2013 due to a tidal storm surge. It devastated the then visitor centre and flooded it by up to 1 metre. Since then they have been working to build a new centre which was opened in 2016. Although it doesn’t look much in the photo below it has an expanse of windows alongside the interior café. There are also toilet facilities and a shop within the centre. Plus more toilets in the building behind the centre.
We made a bit of an error in the café as we assumed the only food they had was what was listed on the boards by the counter. Just as we were about to leave we realised that they had a whole other extensive menu that was next to some paper and pens for the kids. We weren’t the only ones to make this error. Hopefully you now won’t. What we did have was tasty and good value for money.
The visitor centre is open from 10am until 3pm and may stay open later on busier days.
There is a relatively large car park next to the visitor centre plus other parking before this point. You can either pay £1 for 2 hours or £3 for all day parking. There are no other costs involved in visiting Gibraltar point itself. Dogs may be taken on parts of the reserve on short leads but are not permitted on the beach from 1 April to 1 September.
There is the main entrance to the pathways of Gibraltar point at the top left corner of the car park, away from the visitor centre.
Starting on our walk there was a big handy sign with information about birds and a map showing us where the pathways are. You can also download a map in advance via this link. We took the circular route around following the red accessible paths. I’d say that nearly 3/4 of the paths were suitable for wheelchairs. It did get a bit bumpy in places with some muddy puddles. However they are still pretty accessible for a nature reserve.
The map is really great as it marks on it where there are steps, benches to rest on and hides to watch the birds from. We chose a route with the most hides however a couple were inaccessible and grown over.
The main south marsh road pathway takes you through the middle of the reserve. It’s a lovely spot with vegetation and water either side. We spotted a few birds which were mostly in the sky. This path is certainly accessible for all. If you carry straight on at the end it is not accessible to wheelchairs as there are steps down to the area nearest the sea. We headed left before then at Bean’s hole.
What birds can you expect to see?
When we were there we saw great swarms of starlings flying around. This is always a sight that fascinates me and they were lovely to see. We didn’t spot much other than them, some swans, moorhens and some seagulls. The photos that they display on the TV screens in the café show all sorts of wildlife that has been spotted and photographed at the reserve.
In winter there are many geese to be spotted. If you are patientthere is a huge variety of birds to be spotted from warblers to shorelarks and more. However if you’re there with the kids you are probably more likely to spot the kind of birds that we saw.
Back to our walk
After discovering that a couple of the hides were no longer accessible we were getting concerned that we weren’t going to see much wildlife actually on the water. We eventually came to a hide overlooking the Mere and luckily we saw a few swans and a baby moorhen. We then carried on crossing the road to Tennyson’s sands. This had a couple more hides and a few more birds on the water. This path looked to be recently made. It was made of gravel but was compressed down well. This is also a cycle track, however there was no one out cycling.
This path eventually took us back up to the visitor centre. Including stops at hides we walked for about an hour and a half. There are a few pathways off the main route that you can also take along the way. If you do visit don’t forget binoculars for yourself and the kids. Jamie had a great time using his.
We passed a pleasant day walking around Gibraltar point and eating in the café. Had we not been a little short on time we would have probably headed on the two paths that take you a little closer to the sea as well.
I hope you enjoyed my review. Where is your favourite nature reserve to visit? Why do you like it?
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