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A great breeding year for seals has caused problems for the locals at Horsey in North Norfolk. It is estimated that around 30,000 people have visited Horsey beach in the last few months to see the 600 seal pups that are presently being reared there by their mothers.
Parking chaos has ensued in and around the village. The National Trust’s car park at Horsey windpump has been overflowing. The busiest days were over Christmas and New Year’s Day when hundreds of cars arrived at this normally very-quiet Norfolk backwater.
The Grey seal mums-to-be arrive at Horsey beach in November to give birth, and remain there suckling their young until February.
The local police have raised concerns about roads being obstructed by parked cars, and have officially requested people to stay away. This is unlikely to deter the many individuals that want to witness the spectacle of so many pups in one place.
Local volunteers – Friends of Horsey Seals – are attempting to minimise the disturbance to the seals by advising the visitors that make their way to the beach.
The official advice is:
- 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!
Horsey is so popular with the seals because of the wide expanse of beach that is protected by dunes. They can also get their young far enough up the beach to avoid high tides.