Seal Colony at Horsey

One of the most exciting wild-life events in East Norfolk occurs between November and February each year on Horsey beach. One of the most important World rookery (or breeding sites) for grey seals is at Horsey on the Norfolk coast. Each year between November and February female seals (cows) arrive before giving birth 24 hours later.

The pup feeds from the cow for about 3 weeks and can put on 2 Kg a day. After that the Mum will leave and the pup will moult its fine white coat before taking to the sea and learn to fend for itself.

After the birth the males (bulls) arrive and compete for space next to the cows in order to mate.The pregnancy lasts until the following year, following the same cycle.

The very best place to witness this fantastic natural event is at Horsey. The shortest walk is to park in the village of Horsey, walking East past The Nelson Head Pub. This old Norfolk local serves excellent draft ales as well as good pub food. Walk down to the dunes before walking South. The walk can be wet and muddy after rain. You will see well constructed paths up the dunes from where you can observe the grey seal colony on the beach below. Take care and keep your dogs under very close control. The seals can approach close to the observation points and are very vulnerable at this time. They can also attack you or your dog if you approach too close. Voluntary wardens will often patrol the area to try and ensure we humans impact the seals as little as possible.

The round walk from Horsey is about 4 Km (2.5 miles). If you would like a longer walk then instead start from Winterton on Sea. Again, there is a great local pub, the Fishermans Return, again serving excellent local ales and an extensive selection of good food, and is a great place to start or finish your walk. Walk North along Winterton Dunes National Nature Reserve or along the sandy beach. As the beach narrows at Winterton Ness you should walk along the path on the land side of the dunes as the beach will be closed by the Wardens in order to protect the seals. The round walk to the main colony is about 7 Km (5 miles). All year round this is one of my favourite British walks. Beautiful beaches, massive dunes, a variety of seabirds and tremendous views inland. Enjoy the walk and seals.

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