Renovation plans for Spurn Point lighthouse

Spurn lighthouse
Image caption The lighthouse was built in 1895

A disused lighthouse in a Humber Estuary nature reserve could be about to get a new role as a visitor centre.

The Victorian lighthouse at Spurn Point, East Yorkshire was last used to guide shipping in 1985.

Planning applications for a new centre about Spurn's heritage and wildlife and a classroom in the lighthouse have been approved by East Riding Council.

The 3.5 mile (6km) long spit of land is owned by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (YWT) and famed for its bird life.

Characterised by sand dunes and salt marshes, Spurn is just 160 feet (50m) wide in places.

Harry Watkins, conservation officer, said: "Spurn's underlying geology is unique and its two habitats unusual."

Military structures

Recently a 70,000-year-old mammoth tooth was found by a colleague of Mr Watkins during a walk along the reserve's beach.

Mr Watkins said the sea defences on Spurn and higher up the coast had so far stopped the spit of land becoming an island.

The road to the spit is currently closed to motor vehicles as it is vulnerable to damage from the tides.

The lighthouse was built in 1895 and the area also features several disused military structures dating from World War I.

All the paths and animal tracks over the land have been mapped for the project to make sure visitor numbers to the visitor centre could be managed without damaging the habitat they have come to see.

Mr Watkins said the next phase of the project would require about £500,000 funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

He said building work could start in Spring 2014 with the required funding and be open to visitors in 2015.

The land is also home to a RNLI lifeboat station.

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