Grey seals at Horsey


Route: Horsey

Area: North Norfolk

Date of walk: 28th January 2022

Walkers: Andrew, Gilly and James

Distance: 4.8 miles

Ascent: 100 feet

Weather: Fog and mist at first, gradually clearing

The beach near Horsey is part of a stretch of coastline which is home to one of the largest breeding colonies of Atlantic grey seals in the country. Pupping takes place during December and January so this would be one of the last opportunities in the season for sightings. Seal pups are unable to swim for three or four weeks, so the suckling seals lie above the tide line while their parents loll around nearby

We parked inland, at the National Trust car park at Horsey Mere which is an important bird reserve and worth a visit in its own right. It was a misty morning as we walked past Horsey Windpump, built in 1912 in order to assist in draining the fens

The landscape in these parts is as flat as a pancake and we made quick progress across the fields to Crinkle Gap, a break in the concrete and dune barrier that protects the land from flooding. As soon as we entered onto the beach we were greeted by the sight of a pair of seals swimming in the sea and, to our right, we spotted a large colony of seals lying around on the beach. It’s important not to disturb these creatures and we chatted with one of the seal warden volunteers in order to find out where we could safely walk. Depending on tide times it may not be possible to walk along the beach and it may be necessary to follow a path behind the dunes. Our luck was in and we were able to keep to the beach provided that we stayed as far away from the seals as possible

It was a wonderful section of the walk, with large groups of seals on our right as we walked as far as Horsey Gap. At this point we turned inland to head back to the start to follow a series of paths, tracks and a short road section back to the start. Back at Horsey Mere we had a close encounter with a Chinese Water Deer which leapt out of the reed beds and almost landed on us, before sprinting off down the path – a memorable end to the walk

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