If you see any wildlife in difficulty please contact FoHS - 07706 314514 or the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999

Discover the Wonder of the Horsey Seal
Seal bobbing in sea

Covid Precautions

Horsey Estate Car Park at Horsey Gap and the Beach Car Park at Winterton are open in response to easing of Covid-19 restrictions on travelling. Please remember the pandemic is not yet over. Taking sensible precautions against spread of infection remains important and should be observed by everyone, including those who have received vaccination.

Grey Seals of Horsey

Roughly half of the world’s population of grey seals are found around Britain, their protection is of international conservation importance. It is one of our largest mammals but is still vulnerable to disturbance during the pupping season. Grey seals come ashore at Horsey & Winterton to breed during the winter months. Horsey offers a great opportunity to view the seals from the viewing platforms and for wildlife watching although it is very important to respect the seals and not to disturb them or their environment.

Important information on visiting Horsey & Winterton

Visiting Horsey is a great opportunity at all times of the year but please be aware that when visiting in winter to see the seals, the track to the viewing areas is likely to be affected by puddles and can be uneven for people with reduced mobility or visitors with pushchairs or prams. Viewing areas are reached by sloping paths with sandy surfaces. There are no toilets on site at Horsey. Winterton is made up of miles of beach and sand dunes.

Update on FoHS campaigns and information for schools & groups

The Friends of Horsey Seals are happy to welcome pupils keen to learn about local wildlife. We'd also like to hear about any school projects you made be involved in i.e. beach cleans etc. Let us know by email to: enquiries@friendsofhorseyseals.co.uk

This is an urgent message for all visitors... Human intervention can kill.

The beaches at Horsey and Winterton are blessed to be home to some of the largest colonies of Grey
Seals to be found anywhere. From November to the end of January the beach will be crowded with Seals and their new born pups

THIS IS AN URGENT MESSAGE to please treat these beautiful animals with the ultimate respect they
 deserve. Human intervention can easily prove fatal to Seals and in particular their Pups, so please ensure you adhere to the following rules when visiting the beach:

If you see a seal in distress or difficulty – please contact 07706 314514

For full information

Become a Friend of Horsey Seals

FoHS Friends have unlimited access to lots of useful resources

Donate to Friends of Horsey Seals

We're a charity and rely on your donations to carry on conservation work

Seal in water

Latest news

Potential Danger for Seals v2

We continue to pick up netting and rope from our beaches.

Colossus has been released

Colossus has been released after recovering at RSPCA East Winch

Safety of our Wardens – IMPORTANT INFORMATION

In response to government advice on minimising the spread of Covid 19 virus and to comply with our duty of care to our volunteers and visitors Friends of Horsey Seals (FoHS) are standing down all our wardens from Sunday 22nd March 2020.

Become a Warden

By becoming a warden you are helping to support the work we do in protecting the seals from disturbance.

We primarily warden during the grey seal pupping season which is usually between November and January.

Email recruitment@friendsofhorseyseals.co.uk to register your interest.

The Trustees

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  • Who is in charge of the car park and sets the car park charge?

    Horsey Estate is in charge of car parking at Horsey Gap and sets parking charges. Horsey Estate also manages the overflow car park and controls traffic flow during the pupping season.

  • Who is in charge of services on the Horsey site during pupping season?

    Horsey Estate is responsible for all services on the Horsey site. FoHS have no role in the provision of services.

  • When is the pupping season?

    The season is from the beginning of November until the end of January every year.

  • Why are we asked not to go on the beach during pupping season?

    There is a voluntary beach closure between November and January to help stop disturbance to the seals and injury to pups. Seal wardens ask visitors to stay off the beach and use the marked viewing areas. Females with pups are territorial. A pup straying into the territory of another seal can be injured when ejected by the occupant. Females separated from their pup through disturbance will sometimes lose sight of it and abandon the pup. (If you stay off the beach you are setting a good example to other visitors).

  • Why are areas of the dunes roped off?

    We rope off areas of the dunes on the advice of Natural England and the Environment Agency to protect the dunes from excessive erosion and allow natural recovery. Walkers can be a cause of erosion.

  • What happens to sick, injured or abandoned seals?

    We keep an eye on them and, if necessary, contact the RSPCA who decide whether they need treatment or are better left undisturbed. At all times of year we receive reports of adult seals with netting/rope around their necks. Sightings are reported to RSPCA for monitoring. We refer to them as necklaced seals. Catching them to remove the ‘necklace’ is a problem because of their size, and because they naturally make a dash for the sea when approached. FoHS wardens would not attempt to approach a necklaced seal in the seal rookery during the breeding season, as, besides being dangerous, this would disturb other seals and pups. Many necklaced seals live like this for long periods with no apparent affect on their health, and you sometimes see a necklaced mother rearing a pup. If the rope, or netting, cuts deeply into the skin the wound can become infected and the seal can eventually die. If caught and taken into care, RSPCA vets can treat the infection with antibiotics and remove the rope or netting.

  • What do I do if I see a sick seal?

    If you spot a sick seal, please inform the warden/s on site if during pupping season. At other times, please contact our emergency number (yellow tab) or the RSPCA.

  • What do I do if I see a dead seal?

    Nothing! It’s sad to see a dead animal but it’s part of a natural process. Dead pups are not removed from the beach. They quickly disappear by tidal action or become food for birds or other animals.

  • What is a safe distance to view the seals?

    Please ensure you keep at least 10 metres clear of all seals. You should never get between a seal and the sea, a mother and her pup or bulls on the beach.

  • Can we see seals at Horsey outside of the pupping season?

    Seals are wild animals so it’s not possible to give a definite answer, but seals are frequently seen offshore all through the year. About two months after breeding adult seals go through an annual moult, losing their old fur and growing a coat of new fur, which will keep them warm and protected for another year. At Horsey the moult starts in February and continues for about 6-8 weeks. During that time blood-flow to the skin is increased and the seals become more sensitive to the cold temperature of the sea. To conserve heat they haul out and spend long periods on the beach. This saves energy and allows them to wriggle and scratch as new fur grows. During this period it is not uncommon to see a thousand or more seals hauled out along the tide line.

  • When is the best time to visit in the pupping season?

    The greatest number of births occurs between late November and mid-December. The majority of visitors come to Horsey during the two weeks of Christmas and New Year when there is plenty to see, but on-site parking is exceptionally busy. You might find it more comfortable to avoid this period.

Natural England Norfolk Coastal Partnership