Spurn Head is a 3 -mile sand and shingle peninsula stretching between the North Sea and the River Humber. The peninsula first developed after the retreat of the last Ice Age. Over the centuries it has changed and breached several times. Most well known was the 1849 breach, in which the peninsula became a string of islands. Chalk revetments and a series of groynes hold Spurn in place, but it is now living on borrowed time. Spurn is home to the Humber Lifeboat, the only resident full-time lifeboat station in Britain. Established in 1810, the lifeboat and its various crews have been involved in numerous dangerous rescues. Lighthouses have been located on Spurn for over 500 years, the last being built in 1895. It shone out over Spurn for 90 years until, in 1985, modern technology made it redundant; it is still an attractive feature of the peninsula. Spurn Point has played an important role in the defence of Britain. During the Napoleonic Wars a battery with barracks was established there. In 1915, Spurn Fort was established on the Point, whilst at the mouth of the estuary Bull Sands Fort and Haile Sands Fort were erected on sand banks. At Kilnsea Godwin Battery was built.
In the Second World War, too, Spurn played an important role in home defence. In 1959, Spurn was sold to the Yorkshire Naturalists' Trust for the creation of a nature reserve, but it is still possible to see searchlight emplacements, the remains of an engine room and two gun emplacements. Bull Sands Fort and Haile Sands Fort still stand like sentinels at the mouth of the Humber. Spurn Head's unique landscape, with its distinctive flora and fauna, has attracted naturalists since the early 19th century. After the Second World War, the Spurn Bird Observatory was born. In 1996, Spurn became a National Nature Reserve. The emphasis of this beautifully illustrated book is on how people have interacted with the unique landscape over time, showing bravery and resourcefulness. This absorbing book is the first general study of the area and fills an important gap for local historians.