Seals at Horsey Mere & Happisburgh Lighthouse

Today we headed to Horsey Mere to see the baby seals up on the beach at Horsey Dunes not too far from  Sea Palling.

It’s a tiny tiny village in North Norfolk but within The Broads, not too far from Great Yarmouth.  During the last census it had only 99 people in 40 households – that small!
The area is a big attraction to Naturalists and Wildlife seekers.  The big attraction is the coast next to the village, known as Horsey Dunes, home to the Grey Seals.  During the month of December & January, the colony heads on the beach to give birth to the seal pups.  Early the season, the Bulls can be seen trying to mate with the females and kill the pups.  Though a Seal Warden told us today to come mid-November to see them be born when there are so many or in the summer, when you can walk among seals.

Maebh said she was – ready to go see seals with her “goggles”..then said “no not goggles, my noculars”.  🙂

Baby viewing area.  There was no need to walk far per the Seal Warden, 6 were located here a bit ago.

The first baby seal we saw and he was trying to get away from us.

It was such a muddy walk to go from the parking spot to the beach and was about a half mile or so.  We strapped on our Wellies and went to meet the others who were just ahead of us.  Lise, Mark, Vaughn and Morrison had to turn around as it was too muddy and they were not wearing proper shoes.  Poor Jorinde didn’t have proper ones either, but rather her Ugg boots, so we’re hoping she can get them clean again. Naturally due to the mud the stroller could only go so far, so we parked it and put Maebh on Nils’ shoulders for there rest of the way.

Afterwards, the 7 of us headed over to Nelson’s Head Pub.  It was nice time… the guys had a couple beers, and of course, we all shared chips (french fries) and onion rings before making our way up the coast.   I had a laugh at the sign they have up and their note on their website:

NEXT STOP HAPPISBURGH – pronounced “Haze-bruh” – Still a bit of a debate on pronunciation but I’m going with what I hear/see on the web.

I really really like Lighthouses and take photos of them all the time so naturally our next stop up the coast was to go view the beautiful Happisburgh Lighthouse.  The Lighthouse is the oldest working light in East Anglia and the ONLY independently run lighthouse in Great Britain. It is maintained and operated entirely by voluntary contributions.  It’s open on some Sundays and Bank Holidays and in the summer – so a return trip is a must.

The area of Happisburgh has made some International news due to beach corrosion and the actual loss of many seaside homes which literally fell into the ocean.  The sandy cliffs have been eroding since the Ice Age but man-made sea defences installed after 1953 floods slowed the rate of erosion but have been failing since the 1980’s.  In a photo below, you’ll see over 100 homes which were washed way.  It’s really unbelievable and sad too.

In addition, Archaeological excavations on Happisburgh Beach have revealed that ancient humans lived in Britain more than 800,000 year ago – making them the earliest Northern Europeans!  More info and photos about the find can be found by clicking here.

This house will be gone in the years to come.  No idea how long but there is someone in there as the lights were on!

View from the beach – cliffs which were once full with homes on them.
View of the area where the homes were 20 years ago – 1990’s!!!

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