Colourful new trail will make 2022 the ‘Year of the Puffin’ in East Yorkshire

A trail of giant puffin sculptures planned for 2022 is set to celebrate East Yorkshire’s role as a ‘puffin paradise’ thanks to its dramatic cliffside breeding sites.

The Flamborough Headland, and the towering Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserve, are among the best places in the UK to see puffins from land – and already a major draw for visitors during the breeding season.

Known as a clown among seabirds because of its brightly coloured bill, red and black eye-markings and bright orange legs, as well its comical antics, thousands of pairs of puffins can be easily seen in spring and early summer from the viewing points on the cliffs.

But for 2022, visitors to East Yorkshire will be able to celebrate one of the world’s favourite birds on a new public art trail across the area.

‘Puffins Galore!’ will see a parade of 40 colourful, artist decorated puffin sculptures spring up at coastal locations from Flamborough Head to Spurn Point.

Behind the new trail is the team that delivered the popular Larkin with Toads and Amy Johnson Moths projects to Hull, marking the city’s links to poet Philip Larkin and East Yorkshire’s connections to pioneering pilot Amy Johnson.

Now the team hope the popularity of puffins will help boost tourism across the East Yorkshire coastline.

Standing around 1.5 metres tall, each sculpture will be decorated by an individual artist, and the trail is due to be launched in May 2022, with a giant auction planned for October to sell the puffins off for charity.

The real-life seabirds return annually to the cliffs around Flamborough in March and April, before breeding and then heading off back to sea again in mid-August.

An unmistakable bird with its black back and white belly and cheeks, and of course, its multi-coloured bill, around 4,000 pairs of puffins return to the cliffs to breed, with each pair laying a single egg in a crevice in the rock face.

At the RSPB’s Bempton Cliffs Reserve, just outside Bridlington, special viewing points make spotting the birds easy for visitors, who can watch the adults returning from fishing forays at sea with sandeels hanging from their beaks.

The reserve – known as ‘Seabird City’ during the summer months when it becomes home to more than 250,000 nesting birds, including gannets and razorbills – also offers puffin patrols throughout the season to take visitors to the best spots to see the birds

For a different perspective, Puffin Cruises, aboard Bridlington’s MV Yorkshire Belle, run May – August each year, with a three-hour journey of discovery that takes passengers to the base of the 400-foot chalk cliffs for spectacular bird watching.

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