Over the winter, female seals make their way onto the sands to give birth. They then feed their pups for 3 weeks before swimming out to sea leaving the pup on its own. On the long sandy beach between Horsey and Winterton-on-sea, thousands of seals are born each year. The peak birthing season is between mid-November and early January. During this time, the male bull seals hang around waiting to mate with the females as soon as they have weaned their pups. The males often fight for the females on the beach.
A young seal on the water's edge
When the seal pups are newly born, they are fluffy and very fat. They are fed by their mothers for 3 weeks, then they are left to survive on their own. As instinct and hunger kicks in, the seals venture into the water. If you are lucky, you can see pups entering the sea for the very first time. Many hesitate and even recoil once or twice before fully taking the plunge.
Young baby seal at the back of the beach
Visitors can watch the seals from either the dunes at the back of Horsey Beach, or on the wider beach at Winterton-on-Sea. There are wardens who make sure the seals are not harassed, so will ask people to stand back, but they are friendly and very knowledgeable. They also report any sick or underweight seals to the rescue squad. Unfortunately, some babies are abandoned early if their mother becomes stressed.
Seal wardens ensure that the public stand back from young seals
Although the baby seals are born in the winter months, you can spot the adult seals all year in the sea. They are inquisitive, so if you stand close to the edge of the water you might see one pop its head up. And further up the coast at Blackeney, you can board a boat and see them on the Point any month of the year.
There are carparks at both locations. There is a charge or approximately £7 per day - it can only be paid in cash. At Winterton, there is a toilet and a small hut for coffee. At Horsey, there are no facilities at all.
Seals can be seen all along the beach at Winterton