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Horsey Seals

Between November and February a colony of Grey Seals arrive on the beach at Horsey each year to breed

An Introduction to the Horsey Grey Seal Colony

Female and Pup
Adult Seals
Seal Viewing Point
Seal Pup
White Pup

During the months of November to February a colony of Grey Seals come onto the beach at Horsey, to breed. This is one of the few accessible mainland Grey Seal breeding sites in the UK. Grey Seals are one of the largest mammals and around half of the world's population are found in Britain, so the Horsey Colony is therefore one of the best sites in the world to see seal pups. This stretch of east coast is part of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is well known for its scenery and wildlife. At trip to see the Seal Colony is a popular family activity during the breeding season and is FREE (other than the cost of car-parking and a cup of tea).
Local Websites

Norfolk Cottages

Horsey Seal Colony Map

Horsey Map Sea Palling Winterton on Sea Hickling Martham Seal Colony Horsey Village
 

Horsey Seals Guided Picture Tour


We start our tour of the Horsey Seals at the car-park at Horsey Gap. This car-park has been vastly improved and a proper track leads from the coast road to a pay and display car-park (about £1 per hour). Located in the car-park is Denise's Kitchen, a cafe serving hot and cold drinks and snacks (Wednesday to Sunday).
Horsey Seal Sign
The sign at Horsey Gap
Horsey Gap Carpark
The car park at Horsey Gap
Horsey Windpump
Denise's mobile kitchen located in the car-park

To get to the seals, you need to walk along the path below the sand dunes to the best viewing area overlooking the beach as directed by the Seal Wardens. The seals tend to move around the beach and the walk to the seals can take somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes (each way). Along the route you will find a number of seal themed quiz questions that you lift the lid to discover the answer. Dogs are allowed on a lead.
Horsey Path
Walking the path from the car-park to the Seal Colony
Seal Quiz
Quiz questions along the path
Horsey Dog Walk
Dogs are allowed on a lead

Eventually the path leads to the viewing points overlooking the beach (access to the beach itself is not allowed during the pup season). A number of volunteer Seal Warden's help and inform visitors about the seal colony and the number of pups that have been recently born. You can walk along the coast to get the best views, as the seals are usually spread out over the beach.
Horsey Seal Wardens
Seal Wardens informing family visitors at the Seal Colony
Horsey Coast Path
The path along the coast at Horsey
Seal Viewing Point
A viewing point overlooking the beach

TOP TIP:
Bring a pair of binoculars with you!

The Seal Colony is layed out on the beach below. The females (cows) arrive on the beach first. They will then give birth the following day and feed their young pups milk for three weeks, while keeping a close eye. The males (bulls) arrive some time later and compete for space on the beach next to a female, with the fittest bulls getting the best positions. They will then mate, with the pregnant females returning here to give birth next year. Grey Seal's are very territorial and fight for their space. Sadly pups straying into another seals territory could get injured or even killed. After around 3 weeks, the seal pup's are weaned and the female's will then leave. Over the next few weeks the young pups will shed their white coat for a new waterpoof mottled coat and eventually make their way into the sea to learn how to feed themselves.
Seal Pup
A newborn seal pup laying on the sand, watched over by his mum
Adult Grey Seals
Adult Seals, sunbathing in the surf
Young Grey Seal
A young seal, rolling on the beach
Seal Pup
A pup takes a snooze
White Seal Pup
The seal pup's are white in colour


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8 Grey Seal Facts

The females arrive on the beach first and give birth to their pup the following day
The pups are fed milk by their mother for three weeks, with the milk containing 60% fat
Pups are born with a white coat that is NOT waterproof, hence why they are born on the beach
The males arrive later and compete for the best position on the beach, next to a female.
Once the females have weaned their pups, they mate again shortly after and give birth here next year
Young seal pups teach themselves how to catch food and live at sea
More than half of the pups born at Horsey will probably not survive their first year
Males can grow over 3M in length and weigh more than 300KG, with females smaller and lighter

Our Verdict

A trip to see the Horsey Seal Colony is a great family outdoor activity. Other than the cost of car-parking, a visit is free and with lots of fresh air and a brisk walk, this makes a healthy alternative to the traditional indoor winter activities.
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