||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (August 2011)|
Gibraltar Point shown within Lincolnshire
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||East Midlands|
|UK Parliament||Boston and Skegness|
The reserve is owned by Lincolnshire County Council and East Lindsey District Council and is administered by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. The reserve comprises two parallel ridges of sand dunes—the "east dunes" and the "west dunes"—separated by approximately half a kilometre of salt marsh; and an area on the seaward side with further salt marsh and sand, shingle and muddy beaches. The reserve extends for a distance of about 5 km (3 mi) along the coast, from the southern end of Skegness to the northern corner of The Wash (Gibraltar Point itself is at the southernmost tip, and marks the point where the North Sea coast turns southwest towards Boston). A golf course occupies much of the west dunes (the inland side) at the Skegness end of the area. Gibraltar Point is an area of coastal deposition—at the end of the 18th century the west dunes were by the shore, but they are now a kilometre inland.
In 2006 a new Visitors' Centre opened at the southern end of the reserve. This contains the Wild Coast Exhibition, an exhibition about the habitats and wildlife of Gibraltar Point including 3D models of sand dunes and salt marshes where visitors can view the burrow of a natterjack toad. The Nature Discovery Room has interactive displays and marine tanks containing animals found in the sea off the Lincolnshire coast.
Situated next to the Visitors' Centre in the old coastguard house and look-out is The Wash Study Centre; this has residential accommodation, a laboratory, classroom and a library. The centre is open to groups from schools, youth groups, colleges, universities, natural history societies and similar organisations.
Revenue from car parks assists in the upkeep of the area. There are numerous paths around the area, and several artificial lakes and hides. The Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust also owns an old farm and land just inshore of the west dunes at the southern end of the reserve, again with an artificial lake and hides.
The reserve's importance is recognised by its various designations:
- SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest);
- NNR (national nature reserve);
- Ramsar wetland site (wetland of international importance);
- SPA (Special Protection Area).
The reserve is home to a great variety of birdlife, mostly wildfowl, waders and gulls. Unusual migrants are frequently seen, and birds commonly found at the site include:
- Little tern (Sterna albifrons) breed at the site.
The following overwinter:
- Bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica)
- Grey plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
- Red knot (Calidris canutus)
- Eurasian oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)
- Media related to Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve at Wikimedia Commons
- Gibraltar Point
- Gibraltar Point Bird Observatory
- Gibraltar Point (Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust)
- Government Join Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) Page