The National Trust’s first coastal nature reserve in the Midlands and a new glass-fronted cafe and viewing platform are set to raise the profile in 2021 of one of Lincolnshire’s best kept secrets, its natural coastline.
Best-known for its popular seaside resorts, Lincolnshire’s less recognised natural coastline often comes as a surprise.
Just a few miles from the bright lights and hustle bustle of some of Britain’s most popular ‘bucket and spade’ family seaside resorts is a coastline of wide-open beaches and wildlife rich reserves.
As part of a new initiative to raise the profile of this natural coast, a dedicated website has already been launched, while a former golf course at Sandilands – between Sutton on Sea and Chapel St Leonards – will become a National Trust reserve to protect wildlife and create a new visitor experience.
The new all-year nature reserve, which forms part of the Lincolnshire Coastal Country Park, is the National Trust’s first coastal land in the Midlands and expected to fully open next year (https://bit.ly/2V74AmV).
And following on from the UK’s first purpose-built marine observatory, the North Sea Observatory – which opened in summer 2018 – a new beachfront attraction, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, a café and rooftop viewing deck will open a few miles along the coast.
Costing £500,000, the striking new building will sit less than 50 metres from the beach at Huttoft, just south of Sutton on Sea, the new building – also providing public toilets and visitor information – will offer views towards the sea and The Wash, as well as inland to the Wolds.
Originally due to open summer 2020, it is now expected to welcome visitors either later this year or early 2021. It joins new attractions, as well as existing facilities, helping to make the natural coastline an all year-round destination.
With miles of wide sandy beaches, it offers something for all seasons, from winter breeding seals to huge flocks of migrating birds and a wealth of spring and summer wild flowers. Stretching from Donna Nook in the north – one of the best places in England to see grey seal pups up close – to Frampton Marsh, a wildlife rich nature reserve on the Wash, the Natural Coast website reveals some of the top spots to visit.
A series of access points with parking are dotted around the quieter stretches of the coastline, each offering something a little different, whether a nature reserve, circular walking routes, beach huts or a cycle path.
Just 10 minutes from Skegness, Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve is an internationally recognised wildlife haven for seabirds. A dynamic stretch of unspoilt coastline running southwards to the mouth of the Wash, this year-round reserve is known for its impressive views and sheer scale and diversity of wildlife. Started in 1949, ‘Gib’ as it is affectionately known, was one of the earliest of Britain’s official Bird Observatories.
Elsewhere are long, sandy beaches, including Anderby Creek – where in normal times you can also take a seat at the Cloud Bar. It may not serve alcohol, but this bar nestling amidst sand dunes is the UK’s first purpose-built cloud viewing platform, complete with ‘Cloud Menus’ and swivelling mirrors to gaze skywards and reflect.
For more details, visit www.lincsnaturalcoast.com