Donna Nook National Nature Reserve
Donna Nook covers more than 10km (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. Every November and December, grey seals come to the Donna Nook coastline to give birth to their pups near the sand dunes; a wildlife spectacle which attracts visitors from across the UK.
Visitors should be aware that the Ministry of Defence still maintains part of the area as a bombing target range and under no circumstances should anyone enter the bombing area when red flags are flying. However, most of the dune area is accessible at all times.
Know before you go
- Seasonal gift shop (late October to December)
- Seasonal (private) catering van (late October to December)
- Limited disabled parking in main car park
- Disabled ramp access from main car park
Dogs are not permitted on this reserve.
There is access for wheelchairs and pushchairs from the main 'Stonebridge' car park which is signposted.
Reserve open at all times.
Viewing areas and facilities are seasonal, open from late October to December.
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, car park and viewing area get very congested
The main 'Stonebridge' car park is maintained by the Environment Agency and is free of charge. There are limited disabled bays and disabled access to the path up to the viewing area.
The overflow car park is privately operated and charges £2. There are portaloo facilities available here but no disabled access. This car park usually only opens during seal season - late October through to December.
The Seal Viewing Area (marked in red) can be accessed from either car park.
Location and contact details
Donna Nook National Nature Reserve
Please note, this postcode is for the nearest registered address as we are unable to get postcodes for nature reserves.
Contact number: 01507 526667
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Viewing seals at Donna Nook
The viewing area is open from late October to December at the foot of the sand dunes which acts to reduces disturbance to the seals and ensures the safety of visitors.
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 male bulls can be aggressive. A mother seal may abandon her pup if it smells of humans or dogs.
Habitats and species
The reserve is made up of sand dunes, slacks and inter-tidal areas. Deposition of material from the River Humber has resulted in mudflats and saltings, and dunes bordering saltmarshes allowing interesting plant communities to flourish. Plant life includes sea-buckthorn whose berries attract large numbers of fieldfare, redwing and starling in the winter.
Probably most famously, Donna Nook is home to a colony of grey seals during the winter months where they come onto the Lincolnshire beaches to breed. Britain has about 40% of the world population of grey seals and it's becoming an increasingly important habitat.
It's not all about the seals at Donna Nook! The reserve is also known for it's array of bird life.
The area is famous for more uncommon passage migrants and rarities with over 250 species recorded in total including snow bunting, redshank, lapwing and large colonies of tern during the summer months.
Keep in touch
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