Saltwick Nab, Holiday cottages Whitby, Holiday Apartments Whitby

Unveiling the Secrets of Saltwick Nab: A Journey Through History, Fossils, Shipwrecks and Stunning Scenery

Saltwick Nab, a dramatic headland jutting into the North Sea east of Whitby, is more than just a scenic landmark. It’s a tapestry woven with layers of history, geological wonders, and a unique biodiversity that visitors can enjoy year-round.

Alum Quarries and Industrial Heritage

Step back in time to the 16th century, when Saltwick Nab was bustling with activity. The discovery of alum, a crucial ingredient in the textile industry, led to the establishment of extensive quarries. These scars on the landscape, visible today, tell a story of human ingenuity and the quest for valuable resources. Explore the network of tunnels, shafts, and processing areas, now weathered by time and the elements, offering a glimpse into the lives of the miners who worked here.

Fossil Hunting.

The quarrying activities inadvertently unlocked another secret: a treasure trove of fossils. The exposed rock faces reveal a window into the Jurassic period, teeming with marine life that swam these waters millions of years ago. Keen-eyed fossil hunters can discover ammonites, belemnites, and even fossilized plant remains. Remember, responsible fossil collecting is crucial, so respect the site and leave only footprints.

Saltwick Nab, Holiday cottages Whitby, Holiday Apartments Whitby
Eurasian oystercatcher


Saltwick Nab’s rugged cliffs and diverse habitats provide a haven for an array of birdlife. From the peregrine falcon overhead to the colorful puffins nesting in the crevices. Birdwatchers can spot migrating waders, seabirds like razorbills and guillemots, and even the occasional shearwater gliding across the waves.

Shipwrecks and Maritime Tales.

The treacherous waters surrounding Saltwick Nab have witnessed their fair share of maritime tragedies. The most famous wreck, the HMHS Rohilla, lies submerged just off the shore. This hospital ship was sunk by a German mine in 1914. At low tide you will be able to see the remains of the Admiral Van Tromp. If you bear to the right towards Saltwick Nab and face the sea, you should spot the wreck’s remains. It can be tricky to get down to Saltwick Bay; it’s steep and can be slippery in bad weather, so take care, and wear appropriate footwear. On September 30th, 1976, the Admiral Von Tromp was originally bound for Barnacle Bank fishing grounds, but it never reached its destination. The crew faced a tragic fate, with some surviving and others drowning.

Planning Your Visit

Saltwick Nab is accessible through Whitby Holiday Park, offering ample parking and various amenities. Time your visit during low tide for the best access to the rock pools and fossil hunting opportunities.