Right up there for me are the Norfolk Seal Colonies, both just a half hour drive from Overcliff Lodge; at Horsey Beach on the East Coast and Blakeney Point on the North.
The Grey Seal Breeding Season – Norfolk’s Natural Wonder
Where: Horsey Beach near Winterton, Norfolk.
When: End of October – Early February.
Why: Around two thousand seals come to the beach to breed & birth each winter.
What I love about Norfolk is the feeling of space, vast tracts of beach and huge skies; the perfect backdrop for some of the UK’s most stunning natural sights.
I’d heard about the seals breeding and giving birth on the beaches over winter, so when I moved to Norfolk, a few years ago now, it was top of my wish list to see them for myself.
I’m not sure what I was expecting but looking over the Dunes at Horsey for the first time on a crisp, bright Boxing Day morning, well, just made me gasp with surprise and delight! The sheer scale, thousands of these beautiful creatures and their pups as far as the eye could see, was breathtaking. What really surprised me though was how well I could see them from the Dunes; they certainly weren’t just dots in the distance.
The voluntary wardens do a great job of both keeping the seals safe and protected while maintaining great viewing areas for the public and happily sharing their knowledge of this annual winter wonder.
When I was there, one young pup had somehow ended up on the path along the top of the Dunes. The rope cordon was moved around him and a warden was standing by, but as I passed, how special it felt to see this youngster at such close quarters.
I’m looking forward to visiting Horsey again soon but for the moment I’m taking care of our very own young pup, of the canine variety! Pip is a beautiful Border Collie and full of fun but at 6 months old, too young to visit the seals me thinks!
If you just can’t get enough of watching Norfolk Seals then I’d also recommend a boat trip to Blakeney Point. Wrap up warm and wear gloves that you can keep on while holding a camera, is my advice! (You can see seals here all year round so there are trips throughout the season as well as the busier winter breeding months.)
Seeing these beauties swimming close by and basking on the shore is once again ‘food for the soul’ and the perfect excuse for a winter getaway in Norfolk.
The National Trust website is a great resource for information about the Grey Seal Colony at Blakeney Point.
Enjoy your trip, Victoria Lovejoy.