New £10,000 fence and ‘viewing corridor’ to protect seals along 1.2km stretch at Winterton
PUBLISHED: 14:47 13 October 2020 | UPDATED: 15:11 13 October 2020
New permanent fencing will protect seals ahead of pupping season on a Norfolk beach.
Last year wardens faced “a hellish job” keeping people away from pups dotted over the sands at Winterton.
The colony at Horsey has long been a draw but as numbers have expanded it has moved south to Winterton where they have been hard to warden.
Peter Ansell, chair and founder of the Friends of Horsey Seals, said the fence would cost around £10,000 and he expected the new 4ft barrier to go up next week.
It comprises a chestnut paling fence on the seaward side with a rope fence on the other creating a viewing corridor for walkers with a Covid-safe one way system.
Of the 2,316 pups born last year, some 400 were at Winterton amounting to thousands of animals on the beach, when mothers and bulls were counted.
Mr Ansell said in the event of a tidal surge some of the fencing would be taken away to provide escape routes for seals.
The fencing is being put up and paid for by Natural England.
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He said: “We need to protect the seals and public because for the last three years there were people, children, and seals all over the place, all mixing in with each other and it was a hellish job.”
He urged anyone going on the beach at Winterton to head south to Hemsby during the breeding season which starts at the end of this month.
Temporary signage will be in place directing people to the viewing corridor.
Information maps will be produced that can be downloaded for visitors to see the recommended routes.
Emma Punchard, spokesperson for Winterton-on-Sea Parish Council said: “We hope this fence goes a long way to help protect these beautiful mammals and helps ensure that visitors and villagers can enjoy them from a safe distance whilst helping to protect the dunes and the nationally significant nature reserve.”
Meanwhile William Glover, from Bramerton, has shared his disgust over “moronic” behaviour he witnessed at the colony on Saturday (October 10).
He said: “I visited Horsey this weekend and I am appalled by the moronic behaviour of some members of the general public.
“Children chasing some of the seals into the water and people with dogs standing within a few metres of the seals.
“Social distancing for seals obviously doesn’t apply.”
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