Pups flourish at Blakeney Point as grey sea colony becomes biggest breeding site in England


A grey seal colony has seen the number of pups born each year increase a hundred-fold in just 14 years to become the biggest breeding site for the animals in England. North Norfolk’s Blakeney Point is managed by the National Trust and saw 2,426 seals born this year, almost double the number born there two years ago. The success of the colony, which has grown exponentially since the first 25 pups were born there 14 years ago, is due to the remote, sheltered beach which is safe from predators and other disturbances.

To prevent walkers disturbing the seals, which can increase the chance of fighting among the adults and lead to the pups being crushed, National Trust rangers and volunteers fenced off the westerly-most mile of Blakeney Point’s beach and dunes. Boat trips run regularly from nearby Morston offering good views of the seals. The sheltered, sandy beach providing plenty of space to support the large seal numbers which keeps mortality rates low. For example, in December 2013, seal rookeries across England were devastated by a tidal surge which hit the English coastline. At Blakeney Point, the height of sand dunes kept the colony protected, so they were barely affected.


Blakeney Point (officially called Blakeney National Nature Reserve) is a National Nature Reserve situated near to the villages of Blakeney, Morston and Cley next the sea on the north coast of Norfolk, England. Its main feature is a 6.4 km (4 mi) spit ofshingle and sand dunes, and the reserve also includes salt marshes, tidal mudflats and reclaimed farmland. It has been managed by the National Trust since 1912, and is in the North Norfolk Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest, which is additionally protected through Natura 2000, Special Protection Area (SPA), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Ramsar listings. The reserve is part of both an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and a World Biosphere Reserve.


Blakeney-Point-seals-243819 (1)


Further information:

Guardian Article: Pup numbers boom at English seal colony


BBC Winterwatch: Blakeney Point seals filmed at night</strong

Blakeney seal colony: Norfolk reserve records record-breaking pup numbers

Express website article : Blakeney Point: The home of England’s largest grey seal colony