Donna Nook National Nature Reserve covers more than 10 km (6.25 miles) of coastline between Grainthorpe Haven in the north and Saltfleet in the south where it borders the Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe National Nature Reserve.
For much of the year grey seals at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trusts’ Donna Nook National Nature Reserve are at sea or hauled out on distant sandbanks. Every November and December, the seals give birth to their pups near the sand dunes: a wildlife spectacle which attracts visitors from across the UK.
The Viewing Area - open late October to December
The viewing area at the foot of the sand dunes reduces disturbance to the seals and ensures the safety of visitors. Visitors should be aware that the Ministry of Defence still maintains part of the area as a bombing target range. The seal viewing area is accessible at all times.
Seals are large predators and are very powerful. They can move surprisingly quickly and, having teeth similar to a dog, can inflict a nasty bite – including the pups.
Mothers with pups can be very protective and big bulls can be aggressive. A mother seal may abandon her pup if it smells of humans or dogs.
The first seal pup was born on 24 October 2016, please visit the Weekly Update page for details of the numbers of seals present.
For your own safety and to reduce disturbance to the seals, please follow these guidelines:
- Stay within the viewing area behind the fence
- Strictly observe all red flag and other bombing range warnings
- Don't get too close to the seals
- Never feed or pet the seals
- No unaccompanied children
- No dogs
- Please be considerate when visiting: park only in designated areas
- If possible, visit during the week. At weekends, the narrow lanes and car park get very congested
- There is a small car park at Stonebridge (maintained by the local authority). A private operator provides an overflow parking area
- There are no public toilets in the car park. The nearest public toilets are in North Somercotes village
- No parking overnight
- Catering van (private) operates through the season selling hot drinks and food
- Places to eat and stay are available in North Somercotes and the local area. See the village website and Lincolnshire Tourism for further information
- Organised parties should be booked in advance. Contact the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust Headquarters on 01507 526667, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photography at Donna Nook
All visitors should follow the Visitor Guidelines above.
It is possible to get wonderful photographs from the viewing area. From this location the full spectacle can be witnessed from cute seal pups and interactions between mother and pup to the powerful and brutal fights between the males.
When taking wildlife photographs it is important to remember:
- The welfare of the subject is more important than the photograph.
- Photography should not be undertaken if it puts the subject at risk from disturbance, physical damage, and lessened reproductive success, or if it causes the subject anxiety.
Please read the Nature Photographers Code of Conduct.