If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you will know that I like to make an annual pilgramage to Donna Nook each winter. The Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve on the mud flats and sand dunes close to Mablethorpe on the Lincolnshire coast, is home to one of the country’s grey seal breeding sites. Each year grey seals gather to breed and pup; they come back every October to the same place and by the end of December they’ve done their work and headed back out to sea.
I did wonder if I’d have time to visit before the seals all swam away this year but when Jenni, my outdoors loving friend who’s fault the Lyke Wake Walk was, suggested we booked a day off and met there for a walk, I agreed instantly. While the weather forecast didn’t look great (wet and very windy) we actually ended up picking a brilliant day – blue skies, no rain, and fairly warm (what is with the warmth at the moment?!). We met up in the free car park at Donna Nook and spent a couple of hours cooing over the seal pups before heading into North Somercotes for a pub meal at the Axe and Cleaver.
Donna Nook Nature Reserve is also “RAF Donna Nook”, a bombing range used by NATO aircraft for training. Hence the red flag. And all the noise. It doesn’t seem to bother the seals, though.
Seals on the left, humans on the right. This fence was completely washed away in the storm surge from a couple of years ago. The double fence protects the seals from us and us from the seals.
The seals, of all sizes and colours, seem so laboured on land. There were around 1,000 pups left close to the viewing area (a double fenced off path to protect the seals from us humans), some still with their white fur but most of them shedding fast ready for their life in the water. If you want to visit you have around a week or two left before there’s little to see – the best time is mid to end November, so get it in your diary for next year! Jenni and I loved how playful they were – we watched as one pup chased a bird around, and another as it splashed about in the water. The shedding fur must be a bit itchy as lots of them were rolling around on the coarse grass, leaving hair everywhere. The adult seals were not quite so playful – we watched a cow fight two bulls who were getting a bit close to her young pup, and another couple of older seals chase each other into the distance.
By mid-December there aren’t many white furred pups left, but this one was being very well protected by its mother.
Most of the seal pups were just relaxing in the sunshine.
Some seals knew they were cute and which angle was best.
And others were just having an awesome time rolling around.
The seals at Donna Nook really are a sight to be seen, a visit is a great way to spend a couple of hours outdoors. There is a free car park (with a donation box, naturally), a van serving hot drinks and bacon rolls, an information kiosk, but unfortunately no toilets. It can get very busy at the weekends (especially at the end of November), but when we were there on Wednesday morning last week it was easy access and there was plenty of space to park. The nearest village is North Somercotes where there’s a couple of pubs, and Mablethorpe is only a few miles south. For more information about Donna Nook Nature Reserve, head over to the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust website.
If you fancy seeing some more seal pup photos, my posts from 2012 and 2013 will be of interest. There’s also some video footage in my latest weekly vlog – check out Splodz Blogz TV and watch episode four >
And if you’re interested in the outdoors then make sure you head over to The Thrifty Magpies Nest – Jenni will be sure to inspire you with her woodland living.