Welcome! We'd love to hear about your wildlife sightings and experiences in the comments area below, or via Facebook or Twitter using hashtag #SealCam ~ Best wishes, Mary and the rest of the team here at Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Watching the live #SealCam
At low tide the seals haul out in large numbers on ‘the spit’ at the end of the reserve. However, they don’t always haul out in the same place so sometimes the camera may not be pointing directly at them. At high tide, most of the seals are likely to be in the water as there is a limited amount of beach exposed at high tide.
The seals will swim off to forage and to travel between areas. This could be close in to the shore around the reserve, in which case you may see them swimming past the camera or it could be in the wider area or across the Irish Sea.
We will try to make sure that the seal cam is directed towards the area where the seals are as much as possible. However, seals like other wildlife are somewhat unpredictable in their distribution and occurrence.
If you can’t see them on this occasion please come back and visit the website regularly as the views of the seals are likely to change frequently throughout the day.
The seal cam is situated on the spit about a mile away from the internet mast at the South Walney Office and it is also very exposed to the elements and the wildlife around it. The internet signal on the reserve can also be patchy.
We apologise for any loss of signal and we will do our best to make sure it is temporary when it does happen. Sometimes refreshing your web browser can help. However, please feel free to report any problems to us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org - thank you and enjoy!
Best time to spot the grey seals
The best time to spot the seals is at high tide. During high tide the seals tend to play in the water in front of pier hide and tens of thousands of wader birds line the coast of the spit in winter.
About grey seals
South Walney Nature Reserve is home to the only grey seal colony in Cumbria. Another species of seal is the common seal however the common seal is generally found around the coasts of Scotland, Northern Ireland and eastern England.
Seal pups are incredibly vulnerable to disturbance, which would cause the mother to abandon it and the pup to starve. For this reason, there is strictly no access to the area of the nature reserve where the seals are. However, seals can be seen playing in the water at high tide, along with thousands of wintering wildfowl and wader birds, from hides elsewhere on South Walney nature reserve.
Grey seal conservation
Grey seals suffered from severe persecution, their numbers dwindling as a result. Thankfully, grey seal populations have increased due to a ban on shooting and now the largest European population is found in the British Isles.
How you can help protect animals like the grey seals at South Walney Nature Reserve
Amazing to see the seals - couldn't believe our luck and how many there were! Can't wait to come back again… The Haywards
Although protected, they still suffer from illegal shooting, pollution and disturbance when breeding.
To help seals and other marine wildlife, The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives.
This work has recently had a massive boost with the passing of the Marine Bill, promising sustainable development of the UK's marine environment.
Best time to visit South Walney Nature Reserve
During high tide
The best time to visit is during high tide however during very high tides (9.86m and above) or when there are strong winds, the road to/from the reserve can be cut off for a period of time. Generally throughout the year, high tide time is a great time to visit, an hour before high tide is best.
South Walney Nature Reserve is open daily 10am to 5pm (4pm in winter). The reserve gate is closed and locked shortly after closing time. During very high tides (9.86m and above) or when there are strong winds, the road to/from the reserve can be cut off for a period of time
A great day out for the whole family
As well as wildlife discoveries down one of the waymarked paths or through binoculars from one of the hides, children in particular will enjoy a hands-on experience of discovery in South Walney Nature Reserve's visitor curiosity cabin.
Full of wonderful artifacts, shells and fossils collected from around the nature reserve the visitor curiosity cabin was renovated by staff and volunteers to create a fantastic learning experience for the whole family.
There is a small charge for entry onto the nature reserve to non-members. Members entry is free, non-members £3.00 for adults, £1.00 for children. If you are not a member, do consider joining us!
- Picnic facilities
- Disabled toilet
- Car parking on-site
- No dogs allowed
- Off road mobility tramper available for hire. A kind donation of £5 is appreciated for the use of the tramper. Please book in advance by calling the Reserve Officer on 01229 471066
Find out more about South Walney Nature Reserve and how you can get involved with helping to protect this wild place
Probably the best reserve of all. Unique, quiet, fabulous flora and birds. Would love to return. A lovely and memorable day. Thanks. Peter & Terri
- More information about South Walney Nature Reserve
- Read blogs from our volunteers and The Living Seas team
- Keep up to date via Facebook or Twitter and join in the conversation using #SouthWalney
- Find out where our gulls are going - Some of our lesser black-backed and herring gulls have been fitted with tiny solar powered trackers. You can see what they are up to and track their movements around the bay in real time.
- Get involved at one of our events! Check out what's on at South Walney Nature Reserve