Horsey walk to see the seals
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013
This month we are at Horsey with Norfolk Ramblers to see the windpump and the famous seals
Full walk: 5.5 miles (8.5km)
Short walk: 4 miles (6.5km)
Park: At the NT car park, which is pay and display for non-members
Grid Reference: TG4565 3223
Post Code: NR29 4EF
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1. From the car park return to the entrance near the tea rooms, cross the road and go through the gate straight on, passing a small wood on your left. Carry on to a bridge to the left and cross. This brings you on to a track; turn left following to a road, turn right to Crinkle Hill. Take the left fork, following this to the coast path where the Friends of Horsey Seals have a cabin for equipment storage. For one of the main viewing points turn right and walk approximately 400 metres to the steps which lead up to a viewing area. Returning to the main path turn right at the bottom of the steps bringing you back to the cabin and carry straight on along the coast path. There will be roped-off paths up to the dunes. If the wardens are on duty they will advise the best points to view from - please respect the cordoned-off areas. At the car park end of the path pass through the gate, turn left and leave by the car park entrance. Follow the track to the road, turn right; about 130 metres on the left is the footpath - follow to a path off to the right.
If doing the short walk carry straight on to the church, follow round to the main road, cross the road.
There is a narrow path beside the road - follow this to a path behind the hedge that brings you back to the start.
2. For the main walk turn right, follow the path with a slight kink at the end, turn right then left behind the houses.
At the small woods turn left then right; this will bring you to the cut opposite a drainage pump. Turn left, following the path to the side of Horsey Mere which returns you to the car park. There has been some river bank work that should be finished; if not follow the short diversion to the car park.
A. The community group known as Friends of Horsey Seals was inaugurated in late 2011 to take over management of a project set up in 2002/3 by Natural England and the Broads Authority. The project's aim is to protect seals at Horsey, particularly during the late autumn and winter, when the animals give birth and mate.
The charity's volunteers are also involved throughout the year in the rescue of seals that are sick or in distress.
About Grey Seals
Roughly half of the world's population of grey seals is found around Britain, therefore its protection is of international conservation importance. The scientific name for the seals, Halichoerus grypus, means 'hook-nosed sea pig'!
It is one of our largest mammals but is still vulnerable to disturbance during the pupping season. Grey seals come ashore to breed - the breeding site is known as a rookery or haul-out.
The females (cows) arrive at the breeding sites first and will usually give birth a day later. As mammals they feed their pups on their milk for three weeks, keeping close together.
When the males (bulls) arrive they compete for space nearest to the cows. The fittest bulls get the best positions for mating.
If pups get disturbed they may move into a bull's (or other cow's) territory, where they could get injured or even killed. After the pup is weaned (approximately three weeks) the mother will leave.
Over the next few weeks the pup will moult its soft white coat for a mottled waterproof one; it will not feed during this time and relies on the fat stored while suckling earlier on. Within three weeks the pup will have its adult fur and when it starts to feel hunger will make its way to the sea where it will learn to swim and to feed itself.
B. Horsey Windpump has had a dramatic history - it has survived floods, a lightning strike, a collapse, storms and gale force winds.
Standing on the site of an older 'Black Mill', Horsey Windpump is one of the youngest windpumps on the Norfolk Broads.
Norfolk Ramblers welcomes new members. If you are interested in walking in the company of like-minded people, visit norfolkra.org.uk or call 07505 426750. For queries about this walk, phone 07905 565740.
Norfolk Ramblers has established a footpath working group to do some path cutting and general maintenance. We try to make sure that all the paths in these walks are fit to walk, but if you encounter a problem please tell us.
Contact Peter James at email@example.com; 07905 565740