Saturday, 21 July 2012

Donna Nook Seals

grey seal at donna nook
Every October hundreds of grey seals make their way to the beach at Donna Nook to breed and give birth to their young. Donna Nook is situated on the Lincolnshire coast, near North Somercotes, which is about 15 miles south of Grimsby. The area where the seals breed is very close to a bombing range, that is owned by the Ministry of Defence.

As we only live about 20 miles away, we always visit the seal reserve at least once a year, usually just prior to Christmas. Each time we visit there are always hundreds of people at the reserve viewing the grey seals. As it is always busy, some of the local farmers use their fields as a car park, which saves walking too far, however they do charge a small fee.

Tip: Go to the toilet before you head to the reserve as there are no public toilets there. You will have to head back into North Somercotes.

It's always a good idea to wear suitable footwear such as walking boots and to wear warm clothes as it can obviously very cold during this time of the year. Entrance to the seals is free, however you can make a small donation if you wish. As you make your way through the sand dunes and on to the beach you will be met with a huge expanse of mudflats.

seals at donna nook

The seals are fenced of from the general public, as although they may look cute and friendly, they can be quite aggressive towards people. When you enter the reserve there are a few few rules to observe, the main rules are.
  • No dogs are allowed.
  • No feeding the seals, as they can bite.
  • Don't get to close to the seals.
  • Keep out of the sanctuary.
  • Observe bombing range flags and warnings.
  • All children must be with an adult.

There is a narrow pathway that has been covered with stone that runs for about 500 metres parallel with the fence. The fence is there to simply keep the people and seal separated, as although the seals may appear friendly and docile they can be very aggressive . Most of the time the seals seem oblivious to the hoards of people who come to see them, I guess they are well used to them after all these years.

seal pup

As you walk down the pathway, you notice there are signs with general information about grey seals. About half way down there is a small shop and information centre, where a small gift or memento can be purchased.

Grey seal reserves such as the one at Donna Nook have helped their population rise to over 100,000 in British coastal waters.