Live web cam streaming from South Walney Nature Reserve - hopefully coming soon

We hope to have a seal cam up and running again this year. If you spot anything whilst visiting the nature reserve we'd love to hear about your wildlife sightings and experiences in the comments area below or via Facebook or Twitter!

Best time to spot the grey seals

The best time to spot the seals is at high tide. View tide times  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. 

Ducks and gulls at South Walney island - copyright Nick Thorne

Lighthouse at South Walney nature reserve

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 seal pup is, and so it is not possible to view the pup at South Walney Nature Reserve. However, the rest of the seals can be seen playing in the water at high tide, along with thousands of wintering wildfowl and wader birds, from hides elsewhere on the nature reserve. 

More about grey seals

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

You can be part of our vital conservation work for the grey seals at South Walney Nature Reserve by making a donation or joining us as a member.

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 

Interior of South Walney nature reserve visitor cabin

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.

Opening times

South Walney Nature Reserve is open daily 10am to 5pm (4pm in winter). The nature reserve gate is closed and locked shortly after closing time. 

A great day out for the whole family

As well 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 centre.

Full of wonderful artifacts, shells and fossils collected from around the nature reserve the visitor cabin has recently been renovated by Reserve Manager Matthew Lipton and volunteers to create a fantastic learning experience for the whole family.

Entrance fee

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
  • Toilets
  • 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

Getting there

Find out more about South Walney Nature Reserve and how you can be part of protecting 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

Visitor cabin at South Walney Nature Reserve