Best Time to See the Seals
Setting out at 7.30am from Essex in early February we were hoping to catch a glimpse of a few Grey Seals on the Norfolk Coast at Horsey Beach. Several of our customers have taken Grape & Rhubarb to the Norfolk Coast to visit the Seals & enjoy the amazing Norfolk coastline. The drive is only 2 hours - although a better option maybe to overnight at Clippesbey Hall which is only 10mins from Horsey Beach.
Grey Seals give birth in Norfolk from early November through to end January. So February is a great time to see the new pups. Although please follow the wardens advice & stay 10m away from the seals. There is no need to walk on the beaches as you'll get great views of the seals from the dunes. But obviously keep your dog on a lead at all times & do be careful when walking through the dunes as you are likely to bump into young pups resting in the grass. Don't worry we took a detour and left this little fella to relax.
The white pups of the grey seals are fed on the beach by their mothers for three weeks, where they put on approximately 2kgs of weight a day. After three weeks the pup is left by the mother. The pup will remain on the beach on its own whilst it moults its white coat, after which point it will go out to sea to learn to hunt.
It is exceptionally important that mothers are not disturbed during the pupping season, otherwise they could abandon their pups or be unable to feed the pups enough to ensure the pups gain their optimum weight before being left to fend for themselves. It is a hard life being a grey seal pup, with up to 50% of pups dying in their first year.
Walking over the Dunes
Following our visit yesterday I would advise ARRIVE EARLY. We parked up around 9.30am & were only one of a handful of cars in the carpark. The odd very large camera lenses but no crowds. So the experience is quite magical. Just you and the seals. However, once we were heading back to the car park the crowds were starting to gather & we really would not have wanted to experience the seals with crowds of people on the dunes. So please get there nice & early.
The sight once you walk over the dunes is incredible. We were expecting to see one or two seals NOT 1000!! 1000 Grey Seals lying on Horsey Beach & feeding in the waves.
Seals everywhere as far as you could see. The sight was quite incredible. From Horsey Beach down to Winterton Beach the colony's of Seals stretched all the way down the beaches. Horsey Beach (as long as you arrive early) does feel very natural. Yes, there are some wardens advising people where to walk & doing an amazing job protecting the seals but as long a you stay on the dunes there are no time limits on how long you can stay & how far you can walk. The dunes are very uneven so you would need a rugged wheelchair or buggy capable of off-roading.
If you are planning a trip please take a look at the website Friends of Horsey Seals just here
There's loads of brilliant information about the seals habitat, conservation or what to do if you find an injured seal. Plan your trip carefully & enjoy!!