Donna Nook

Donna Nook

Peter Roworth

No dogs
Wheelchair access
Portaloos in season
Catering van in season

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.

What’s on

Visitor information

Tom Marshall

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.

Opening times

Reserve open at all times.
Viewing areas and facilities are seasonal, open from late October to December.

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, car park and viewing area get very congested

Group visits

Any organised groups wishing to visit a reserve must fill in a Group Visit Form at least one month in advance of their visit. You can find the form on our group visit page.

Alternatively if you are looking to bring a school group, please contact

Car park

Donna Nook parking map

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
Marsh Lane
Donna Nook
LN11 7PD

Please note, this postcode is for the nearest registered address as we are unable to get postcodes for nature reserves.

OS Map Reference: TF 422 998

Contact number: 01507 526667
Contact email:

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.

Weekly seal update

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.

Grey seal fact file

Learn more

Alexander Mustard/2020VISION

Bird life

It's not all about the seals at Donna Nook! The reserve is also known for it's array of bird life. 

47 species of bird breed regularly on the site including little grebe, coot and moorhen as well as a substantial population of reed bunting and meadow pipit.

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.

Wild Weekends


There's plenty more to see and do around Donna Nook and North Somercotes, whether you're looking for scenic views and long coastal walks or wanting to keep the kids entertained!

Why not turn your visit wild, and make a weekend of it!


Keep in touch

Follow our Donna Nook Warden on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news, events and seal records, or search for a nearby event.