“It says here that you can see seals at this beach”, I told my husband doubtfully. We had just arrived to stay a night in the Norfolk Broads and, despite the persistent drizzle, decided that we should go out and enjoy the fresh, country air (we don’t get very much of this at home in London). The chances of viewing some seals made going out sound extra appealing. But I wasn’t convinced we’d actually see any. Luckily I was completely wrong.
We drove from our delightful cottage in Potter Heigham to Horsey, on the coast, around 10 minutes away. The beach (Horsey Gap) was clearly signposted, and from the carpark (pay and display, but not expensive) there was another sign showing us which way we should walk for the seals (the walk, the sign, warned, would take 20 minutes).
I hoped that I wasn’t dragging my husband and kids on a wild goose (or should I say seal) chase, but decided we might as well give it a go.
The walk was pretty, round the back of the sand-dunes, and about a mile long. Unfortunately it was also riddled with deep puddles, which Robert simply could not resist. He was wearing wellies, but they were soon full of water as he jumped in one puddle after another.
After a good 15 minutes or so, we saw a wide path leading up the dunes. We clambered up and saw some people coming the other way.
“Did you see any seals?” I asked breathlessly and they nodded confidently.
A minute later I saw just why they were so confident: the beach seemed to be full of grey seals, of all different sizes and shading. There was even an incredibly cute baby one. It was fantastic.
There were lots of people on the beach, many taking pictures. The seals seemed quite unbothered by this, until one young woman moved within about 10 metres and knelt down for a picture. The response was remarkable as the group of seals she was near started barking and moving away.
We walked further along the beach where there were fewer people – and found lots more seals. It was amazing to see them there in their natural environment, looking as if they were basking in the sun (when in reality it was rainy and cold). I particularly loved it when they moved off and started to swim in the water.
Apparently the seals come to Horsey in the winter months in order to breed, although we only saw one baby. We did, however, see well over a hundred seals and found out later that Horsey is one of the best places to see them, particularly as around half of the world’s population of grey seals are found around Britain.
We decided to walk back to the car park along the beach itself which was beautiful, and must be even more so in the summer when I’d love to return and bring a picnic. There were huge expanses of sand and it was totally unspoilt and very clean. It was also fascinating to see the dunes which surround this beach – in the summer I think they must be full of wildlife, but in the winter, they seemed rather desolate and wonderful.
All in all it was a terrific experience and one I don’t think any of us will ever forget. It was truly special.
YOU CAN SEE MORE SEALS IN ROBERT’S VIDEO ON OUR DAY IN THE NORFOLK BROADS. JUST CLICK HERE!
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