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.

Please help protect wildlife along Lincolnshire's wild coast. Click here to donate to our Seal Appeal.


The roadworks in North Somercotes have now been completed.

Grey seals

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 maintains part of the area as a bombing target range. The seal viewing area is accessible at all times, it is not affected by tides.
  • 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.

Visitor Guidelines

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
  • 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
  • Organised group visits should be booked in advance. Contact the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust Headquarters on 01507 526667, email


Main car park 'Stonebridge'

  • Maintained by the Environment Agency
  • Well-surfaced path to the viewing area
  • Limited number of disabled bays with ramp access to the path
  • Free
  • No toilets
  • No parking overnight
  • Catering van (private) operates throughout the season selling hot drinks and food
  • See the location map here: Where to find us

Overflow car park

  • Privately operated, in a farmers field
  • No disabled access. Access to the seal viewing area is over the sand dunes (unsurfaced) 
  • £2
  • Toilets (only for those who park in this car park) 

There are public toilets in North Somercotes.
Places to eat and stay are available in North Somercotes and the local area.
See the village website and Lincolnshire Tourism for further information

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.




A-Z of Wildlife

Photo of Snow Bunting

Name: Snow Bunting

Scientific name: Plectrophenax nivalis

Category: Finches and Buntings

View full A-Z