A visitor from Bristol was inspired to write a poem after visiting the cliff tops with his wife in May.  

Philip Lyons has been writing poetry for many years and was holidaying in the area, specifically to find out more about one of his heroes. 

'We were celebrating my 60th birthday by going to Hull to follow the Philip Larkin Trail. Larkin is the poet who has most influenced my work and he worked as a librarian in the town's university for many years'. 

As Bempton Cliffs was nearby, the Lyons' decided to explore and were overwhelmed by the beauty of the seabirds and the landscape.  So much so that Philip penned some lines that capture the experience of being on the rugged coast and seeing gannets and kittiwakes for the first time.

'I’m not by any definition a birdwatcher but nature is a passion but a very helpful RSPB volunteer helped me identify many of the birds mentioned in the poem'.

Bempton Cliffs

A gannet glides through air above the sea.

They nest in thousands on the cliffs below,

returning to the same place every year,

the sheer rock-face, the rocky promontory,

a colony with right of passage here,

instinctively at home with what they know.


A novice with binoculars, I spy

two puffins on a ledge, a kittiwake

in flight, a guillemot, a razorbill,

a fulmar. Birds and more birds fill the sky

or dive into the sea to make a kill,

one rising with a fish caught in its beak.


The din is almost deafening, a sound

that carries inland over fields of grain

where sparrows dance to some quite different tune,

the seabirds like the souls of those who’ve drowned

clamouring to be heard. We leave too soon

but clouds on the horizon herald rain.