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Blakeney Point

Blakeney, Norfolk

Location Guide

Blakeney Point, just north of Blakeney village,  is a great location for wildlife lovers and is one of Europe's largest expanses of undeveloped coastal habitat. It is only one of a few places in Britain that has a shingle bank, sand dunes and saltmarsh all in one place which makes it an ideal environment for a large number of different species of coastal plants. However it's not the plants that people flock to see but the large number of Seals which congregate out on the tip of the Point.

It is managed by the National Trust and there is also the National Nature Reserve which is an internationally important site for research on vegetation. Entry to the sensitive nesting ground on the point is restricted during the breeding season.

Seal Watching

This three and a half mile long spit of sand and shingle is a favourite resting spot for Seal pups and you can walk along the spit, or take a boat to see them. There are frequent boat trips around the Point to watch the Seals where you can observe them at rest and play. Some of the boat trips also stop further down the beach at the nature reserve.

It is one of the best places in the UK to watch and study seals. The seal colony is made up of both Common and Grey Seals and numbers are around 500. They are usually basking on the sandbanks at the far end of the spit. 

The Common Seals have their young between June and August, they give birth in the wash on the remote sandbanks in summer when the tides are low and suckle their pups for about 3 weeks. Their mating season begins in September, and if you visit towards the end of the season you might be lucky enough to witness a Seal's mating dance. This usually involves splashing and rolling around in the water and playful nipping at each other's necks.

Roy Turner

The Grey Seals have their pups between November and January, again suckling their pups for about 3 weeks. They are the larger of the two species and have large speckles on their coats and longer pointed heads with parallel nostrils.

The best way of viewing the seals is to catch one of several boat trips which run from Blakeney and Morston harbours. Between April and October they operate on a daily basis, although they also run throughout the winter months. Times of trips depend on the tide and are posted on timetable boards at both harbours. The seals are very inquisitive and often pop up alongside the boats.

Blakeney Point Nature Reserve

The Nature Reserve is also a great hotspot for horticulture. It became Norfolk's first nature reserve when it was taken over by the National Trust in 1912 and has become one of the most important sites in Britain for coastal vegetation. The:-

  • Shingle banks with their moist, salty soil are colonised by biting Stonecrop, Sea Campion, Yellow-horned Poppy, Sea Beet and Birds-foot Trefoil

  • Muddier saltmarsh is peppered with Sea Lavender and shrubby Seabite, both of which thrive in the silty conditions.

  • Sand dunes you'll see flora of Sea Bindweed and grey-hair grass, as well as Marram grass, which helps stabilise the dune formation.

Also a famous local delicacy Samphire, or Glasswort grows in the intertidal mudflats and salt marshes in the areas around Blakeney Point. Samphire is a fleshy edible plant, which locally it is sometimes called 'poor man's asparagus'.

It's too hostile an environment for trees to grow naturally, although some have been planted and given a helping hand so that they can attract migrant birds like Little, Common and Arctic Terns. The trees also provide a habitat for Puss Moth Caterpillars, which change colour when they're ready to pupate and spin a cocoon. During the Summer you can get to watch the breeding Sandwich and Common Terns.

Bird Watching

There are also many facilities for Birdwatching on the salt marshes and spit. As well as the Terns, who nest in a huge colony on the point, other seashore birds the you can expect to see include,

Summer Months: Oystercatchers, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Godwit, Dunlin, Linnet, Meadow Pipit, Wheatear and Skylark.

Winter Months: Large numbers of ducks and geese make it their home including:- Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Pintail, Pink-footed Geese and Grelag and Brent Geese can be seen on the salt marshes.

Location: Blakeney Point, Norfolk

Grid Reference: TF997461 Ceremonial County: Norfolk

Map Link: Multimap

Aerial photo: Google Aerial Photo

Getting there: Off the A149 at Cley Next the Sea, Blakeney village or Morston where you can park. Then see Access for details.

Access: On foot - at the end of the lane that runs from Cley to Cley Eye behind the shingle bank there is a car park. From here walk westwards along the spit to Blakeney Point. Or take a boat from Morston Quay or Blakeney.
Website: National Trust
Other Useful Websites: Wiki    Boat Trips
Email: blakeneypoint@nationaltrust.org.uk
Address: Norfolk Coast Office, Friary Farm, Cley Road, Blakeney, Holt, Norfolk
Postcode: NR25 7NW Telephone: 01263 740241 (General enquiries)
Opening Times: All Year and All Times

Charges: No charges to go to Blakeney Point - however may have car parking charges at Cley

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By: Tracey Park Section: Wildlife Key:
Page Ref: blakeney_point Topic: Seals  Last Updated: 03/2010

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