“The Nativity - in the coldest, darkest, dog days of the year something to celebrate! New life! New life from another world! To which we may draw near! “
These words do just as well when applied to Christmas, or the Grey Seals born on our beaches from November to January each year! The parallels continue -
“Usually, there’s plenty of room for everyone but at Christmas it’s hard to find a parking place!” Etc..
Horsey had a bumper season last year with over 600 baby seals. For the first 3 weeks they remain on the beach fed by their mums. They are very appealing, very photogenic and people love them. On Boxing day and New Years Day there was parking chaos when thousands of people turned up on the same days. The pub was so crowded that it was a repeat performance of no room in the inn!
If you can find a place, parking is at Horsey Corner with a walk of about 1.5 miles. Alternatively, it’s 2 miles from Winterton or the National Trust Horsey Mere car park to where the bulk of the seals are hauled out.
In 2012, in mid December and at mid-week, there was plenty of space and very few visitors. I found the beach closed and the viewing platform set up to keep people and seals apart. Only no one had told the seals! Some pups had come under the rope and were high in the dunes. It was difficult to keep out of their way.
At busiest times Friends of Horsey Seals do a great job marshaling the crowds. Their notices advise visitors:
· Keep your distance from the seals.
· Watch for seals in the dunes and give them a wide berth.
· Seals have a nasty bite – be careful!
· Keep your dog on a lead.
· Keep to the marked viewing areas and respect the fences.
· Grey seals are wild animals. Do not approach!
On the way back to my car I detoured to visit All Saints’, Horsey’s round-toweredchurch. Sitting in quietness I thought about the journey and the homage I’d paid that day. They didn’t compare with those of the Wise Men and Shepherds! But, of course, what they’d gone to see was a zillion times more wonderful than - even the cutest - Grey Seal pup!
(If you definitely want to make a visit to the seals part of your Christmas or New Year holiday why not go to Blakeney? It’s a fine lung stretching 3 mile walk from the car park at Cley Beach to Blakeney Point ! Alternatively you could book onto one of the widely advertised seal trips from Morston Quay.)