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
- Gift shop open late October to December
- Private catering open late October to December
- Disabled car parking with ramp access at Stonebridge car park only
- Portaloo in main car park (not suitable for wheelchair users)
- Nearest accessible toilets in North Somercotes (see map)
Dogs are not permitted.
Seals can carry infectious diseases like Leptospirosis and Phocine Distemper Virus (PDV) which are harmful to dogs.
There is access for wheelchairs from the 'Stonebridge' car park which is signposted as blue badge holders only.
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. Please note, traffic management will be in operation on busy weekends
Stonebridge car park (green) is maintained by the Environment Agency and is for blue badge holders only. From here there is disabled access to the viewing area and privately owned catering facilities.
The main car park (blue) is privately operated and charges £5 per car (all day parking). They offer catering facilities and portaloos but there is no disabled access. This car park only opens during seal season - late October through to December. 20% of the car parking fee is kindly donated to the Trust to help with the upkeep of the nature reserve.
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.
OS Map Reference: TF 422 998
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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