Our local coastal area is the Norfolk coast. We’re regular visitors enjoying the coastal views, playing on the beach and scouring for natural treasures in the rock pools. Not just in the Summer either, I love a wild, windy day at the beach.
The Norfolk coast is also one of the best places to spot seals in the UK. Home to both Common and Grey seals.
The best places to find seals are on the North Norfolk coast at Blakeney – all year round, you can even take a seal watching boat trip. Or on the east coast at Horsey during the winter months.
Of course they do move around the region and it’s always a wonderful experience to spot a curious grey nose peering out of the water at you when you least expect it.
My favourite seal experience by far though has to be at Horsey. Grey seals come ashore to breed. The females (cows) arrive at the breeding sites first and will usually give birth a day later.
The seals at Horsey usually start to have their pups in late October/early November and carry on until early February which makes for a great winter visit to the coast, especially during the festive period when I too resemble a blubbery seal. (I’m the one in the blue coat 😉)
The dunes and beach at Horsey are full of seals and their pups. In order to respect these wild creatures (and the undeniable fact that some humans are idiots.) there are roped off walkways but this by no means takes anything away from the experience, some of the seals – especially the pups are very bold and snooze right next to the path.
If you’ve never seen a snoozing seal pup, you really must. If it melts a cold heart like mine, it’s definitely worth a trip and wrapping up warm for.
Parking can be found at Horsey Gap, but be warned the car park does get very busy.
Whilst in the area, (If you haven’t combusted from cuteness overload.) You could visit the nearby Horsey Windpump Not that we did, we went somewhere a little more off the beaten track.
Instead we headed to the Ruins of St Mary’s Church in East Somerton. We love to explore old and lost places. Set within the grounds of Burnley Hall, this perpendicular church, was built in the 15th century.
Once a parish church, then later a private chapel for the residents of Burnley Hall, the building fell into disuse during the 17th century.
Legend has it that a witch with a wooden leg was buried alive in St Mary’s and from her leg, a large Oak tree grew and destroyed the church. True story that.
The tree can be found growing in the middle of the original nave.
Some believe that if you walk around the tree three times, the vengeful spirit of the witch will be released.
Sadly I didn’t know about this magnificent tale until after our visit and my friend Tara spotted my photos and asked if I’d walked round the tree three times.
My confused response of ‘Was I meant to?’ gave her an inkling I was clueless of the folklore and she soon filled me in.
Can’t help but feel I missed an opportunity here. A vengeful witch sounds like she’d be great fun to have around.