Lincolnshire Coast

Beaches, Nature Reserves and Resorts


Spotlight on Donna Nook and the Grey Seals

Expect to see seals at low tide from around October 18th, they are then likely to come on to the beach to pup around mid November.  1st sightings on the beach occur around 5th November
Donna Nook Seals are most evident in the late autumn Best time to see the seals on the beach at Donna Nook is November and  December There is a car park at Donna Nook, which is 2 miles from North Somercotes


Wild Sight

is the nature and wildlife photography website of Stephen Street. Here you will find a number of photographic portfolios dedicated to the wonder and preciousness of nature. You will also find a collection of written works of interest to nature and wildlife photographers.

Oliver Smart

Welcome to my website. My name is Oliver Smart and I have been taking wildlife images for about 6 years. It really has been slow progress but since I have moved into the digital arena I feel I have taken a great leap forward in my picture taking. Contains great photos and tips of how to take superb pictures at Donna Nook.


Click for quality accommodation open all year near Donna Nook 


  1. Lincolnshire Clean Beach Award Winners

  2. Deserted Beaches in Lincolnshire inc. Donna Nook Seal Beach

  3. Traditional Beaches - small resorts

  4. Seaside Resorts of Cleethorpes and Skegness

  5. Nature reserves Featuring Far Ings North Lincolnshire, Snipe Dales and Whisby

1. Lincolnshire Clean Beach Award Winners


Mablethorpe Central – Resort

Fine golden sand adorns the shore side of Mablethorpe beach. An ideal family destination with plenty to see and do, on and off the beach. There are various seaside activities including the new waterplay area in Queen's Park.There are various seaside activities, including sailing and paddle boating, plus, on the promenade there is a traditional funfair and a crazy golf course. Friday is market day, with stalls selling local produce and souvenirs. Safety is assured, with lifeguards attending the beach and sufficient access for prams and wheelchairs. There is a selection of cafes and food outlets lining the beach.

Skegness, Tower Esplanade – Resort

The bustling seaside town of Skegness with its golden sands and multitude of attractions offers everything a family could need for an action packed visit to the seaside. The thriving resort and beach area are exceptionally clean and well maintained and offer excellent access for prams and wheelchairs. Good parking is available adjacent to the beach and within close walking distance of the many amenities of Skegness town. Horse and cart rides around the town can be picked up alongside the beach and the Embassy Centre located on the resort front offers live entertainment throughout the day. More traditional seaside attractions such as donkey rides, crazy golf and fairground rides are in abundance and with an outdoor swimming pool for hot summer days and a practical indoor play area Skegness appears to have something for the family whatever the weather.

Sutton on Sea, Central – Resort

The peaceful uncommercialised air and unhurried pace of Sutton on Sea makes it a firm favourite with young families and senior citizens. Offering a wide welcoming expanse of soft sand this charming beach provides clean and safe bathing in a dog free environment. With colourful beach huts dotted along the promenade and rows of benches overlooking the sea this is the ideal spot to relax and soak up the atmoshphere. For those with young children there are plenty of activities to keep them busy in all weather.For hot summer days there is a refreshing outdoor pool, trampolines, tennis courts and bouncy castle or for the wetter weather there is always the beach bar and café with its family play room on the promenade. For a restful spot to get away from it all why not hire one of the quaint beach huts and enjoy the views in your own private haven.

North East Lincolnshire:

Cleethorpes Central, North East Lincolnshire – Resort

Cleethorpes Central is an unspoilt fine sandy beach with gentle gradient ideally suited to playing beach sports. There is a traditional promenade running parallel to a Victorian gardens and parking space availability on the front is good. The nearby resort town of Cleethorpes is relatively quiet, but has a good selection of entertainment, restaurants and clubs.


2. Deserted Beaches in Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire

Gibraltar Point

Large nature reserve, one of the four main sites in Lincolnshire and owned by Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust  Toilets and refreshment facilities can be found at the field centre. Disabled access is available with suitably surfaced tracks, viewing platform and access to the birdwatching hide and visitor centre. There is an interpretation centre, bird ringing observatory and a field station for education and research. Two birdwatching hides are available on the reserve, and also a nature trail, just over 1 km long, with a shorter loop. A trail guide is available for the reserve, with several panels and trail guide markers.

Donna Nook Seal Beach

Breeding site for seals in autumn/winter Donna Nook is one of the most accessible sites for seeing seals at a time of breeding in the UK. Elsewhere they either gather on beaches but in far away places like the Scottish islands, or they are out to sea in rocky outcrops. In Lincolnshire it is a short ride from near Louth to the beach and there they are, in late autumn and early winter.

Donna Nook National Nature Reserve (NNR) is probably the best place within the U.K. for photographing grey seals. Each year, as autumn rolls into winter, hundreds of grey seals begin hauling themselves out onto Donna Nooks' sandbanks to give birth to their pups. Here the most important activities of the grey seal calendar are played out, giving photographers unprecedented opportunities to capture dramatic pictures of this spectacular period.


Bird watching and Natterjack Toads with a few miles of reserve. No facilities but recently built disabled track ensures Rimac is open to all. 

The freshwater marsh area, with pools and dykes created by English Nature, supports many interesting insects and plants, including water plantain, water parsnip, yellow flag and marsh orchids. Among the insect fauna are 10 species of dragonfly and damselfly, various water beetles and a water spider and is also  home to water voles, water shrews and the rare Natterjack toad

Anderby Creek

A good beach for sunbathing with  miles of sand. The sea can rise up to the dunes at high tide and some people swim here but be aware there are strong currents and no life guards. Fish and chip shop, cafe and toilets but it is still fairly quiet. Along the cost road there are narrow tracks leading to other beaches which are worth exploring.

Tetney Marsh - North Lincolnshire

RSPB Tetney Marshes nature reserve is 1,350 ha of intertidal mudflats and saltmarsh. The saline lagoon is only two hectares, but is nationally important for specialist invertebrates, which include the lagoon shrimp, Gammarus insensibilis - this is the most northerly limit of its word range. Tetney Marsh has nationally important numbers of breeding little terns, Sterna albifrons, and an internationally important wintering/passage assemblage of waterfowl - only a small number of these use the lagoon for feeding.

Humberston Fitties - North Lincolnshire

The Fitties is one of the oldest plotland developments in this country.  It is a small holiday chalet complex with various sized houses all with individual character.

Donna Nook Seal North Lincolnshire

3. Traditional Beaches

Chapel St. Leonards

As you wander around the centre of Chapel St Leonards you will feel that you are amidst a typical country village with its central green, rose beds and friendly community atmosphere. Yet only minutes from this rural scene lays a wonderful beach with surrounding beach facilities. Slides, swings, bouncy castles, crazy golf, pubs, clubs and entertainment are just a few of the fun activities that you will find.

Sutton on Sea

Ideal for all the family, beautiful beach and fabulous preserved Edwardian promenade.  Sutton on Sea has a peaceful atmosphere and its golden beach is the village's pride and joy. It has again been awarded the prestigious European Blue Flag. Wander through Sutton on Sea and you will come across beautiful flower bed displays, charming tea rooms and individual shops where shopkeepers are always pleased to welcome you with a big smile. If you're looking for an activity to try that isn't too energetic then look no further. There is a great selection of fishing lakes and golf courses nearby and the surrounding countryside is ideal for the gentle cyclist or walker.


The beach is outstanding and is a blue flag award beach. Facilities are very good and beach is an attraction all year round. During winter Sundays motorbike sand racing draws big crowds. Mablethorpe beach is one of the best in the country and is a must in summer for any visitors to Lincolnshire.

Sutton on Sea

4. Seaside Resorts - Cleethorpes and Skegness

The Lincolnshire coast is one of the few places left in Britain where you can experience a peaceful feeling of tranquility coupled with traditional seaside resorts.   Lincolnshire and the North Lincolnshire coast including the seaside towns of Skegness, Mablethorpe and Sutton on Sea have all been awarded the Seaside Award by ENCAMS (Environmental Campaigns), which acknowledges clean beaches and good management of the beach area. The same resorts have also been awarded the highly acclaimed European Blue Flag Award.

The popular beaches of Skegness, Ingoldmells South, Chapel St Leonards, Anderby, Moggs Eye (Huttoft Beach), Sutton on Sea and Mablethorpe Town also appear in the Marine Conservation Society's Good Beach Guide.



Still retains its Victorian pier and railway station and has a huge promenade. Cleethorpes has been a favourite for over 100 years and has a golden sandy beach stretching for over a mile. Facilities are comprehensive with cinema, kids play areas, pools, trains and bowling. If you don't like amusement arcades you may tire of it fairly quickly though. Cleethorpes is next to Grimsby which has a lovely shopping centre Freshney Place and the National Fishing Heritage Centre and is worth a visit.


Home to Billy Butlins very first camp and renowned for its clean air and clean blue flag beaches. Skegness motto is "It's so bracing"! and it has been voted as the best place to live in UK (2005 over 50s magazine). It has the Embassy Centre which has an impressive array of top acts especially in summer. Similar to Cleethorpes it is very commercialised and will not suit everyone.


5. Nature Reserves

To view a map of all the nature reserves in North Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire click here

Far Ings - North Lincolnshire, Barton

The Visitor Centre and Warden's house were created by restoring derelict farm buildings. Opened in 1991, the Centre provides commanding views of the reserve and there are displays which help visitors to understand and appreciate the wildlife of the nature reserve. There is also a shop which sells wildlife gifts and souvenirs. The centre is staffed by volunteers on Saturdays and Sundays in summer, Sunday afternoons in winter, and on bank holidays. There is a field studies room which is available to schools and other educational groups.

Whisby - near Lincoln

Whisby Nature Park was opened in 1989. There are two full-time wardens who undertake habitat management and amenity maintenance and development on behalf of visitors. The Nature Park comprises a complex of small, medium and large flooded gravel pits. Some former pits in the area have been used as sediment lagoons and now form wet willow scrub or clay grasslands where the appropriate management has been undertaken. There is only one major stream, an agricultural drain of some local importance, the Pike Drain.

Dense willow and birch scrub can be found over wide areas in the north of the Nature Park on spoil between the pits. A small oak woodland lies alongside the railway, and near to the sites of former gravel works, there are very dry, open expanses of gravel. The Lincoln to Newark railway line runs through the Nature Park and intersects with the footpaths by means of a pedestrian bridge.

Snipe Dales - Spilsby

Snipe Dales Country Park offers a variety of attractive walks through 36 hectares (90 acres) of mainly coniferous woodland. There are picnic tables in pleasant surroundings by the car park, as well as by the central ponds and in a few other secluded areas. The woodland was previously owned by the Forestry Commission and is mainly of Corsican pine, with specimens of Scots pine and European larch. Beech grows along the southern edge of the woods, with alder, hazel and willow species in the wetter areas.

The wide ride that runs to the north-east corner of the park has some magnificent mature ash trees. Many deciduous trees and shrubs have recently been planted to give more diversity and, as sections of the pines are thinned, more plantings of native trees will gradually replace them. Nine newly excavated ponds are being colonised by water plants and attract frogs, toads and dragonflies. They are also used as stopping off points for migrant waders and waterfowl. Herons frequently visit the ponds.

Birds are best appreciated during the breeding season when bird-song and activity is greatest – at other times the pine woods may seem fairly quiet. The most abundant species are chaffinch, redpoll, willow warbler and woodpigeon. In addition to the familiar blue and great tits, coal tits are abundant. Willow tits and long-tailed tits also occur. Tree creepers and goldcrests forage in the woodlands, especially in autumn and winter. Siskin have nested in the woods; when first recorded in 1985, this was only the second breeding record for Lincolnshire. These attractive little finches may be common in the woods in winter along with small numbers of bramblings, other finches and perhaps crossbills. Both tawny and barn owls can be regularly seen, while the quick dash of a sparrowhawk may reward those with sharp eyes. Listen for the raucous cries of jays and the occasional drumming of a great spotted woodpecker. Chiffchaff, whitethroat, lesser whitethroat and sedge warbler can be heard in many places in summer, though they can be difficult to observe. The woodcock, another secretive bird, is a regular winter visitor.

There are fewer flowering plants in the Country Park than in the Nature Reserve, although generally the same species are present. Ferns are prolific among the pines, and a good selection of fungi occur in autumn.

The path waymarked with red markers, known as the 'Snipe Dales Round', provides a walk of about 6.4 km (4 miles), taking in both the Country Park and the Nature Reserve.

Gibraltar Point - Skegness

Large nature reserve, one of the four main sites in Lincolnshire and owned by Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust  Toilets and refreshment facilities can be found at the field centre. Disabled access is available with suitably surfaced tracks, viewing platform and access to the birdwatching hide and visitor centre. There is an interpretation centre, bird ringing observatory and a field station for education and research. Two birdwatching hides are available on the reserve, and also a nature trail, just over 1 km long, with a shorter loop. A trail guide is available for the reserve, with several panels and trail guide markers.


Crowds flock to the seals


The seal pupping spectacle at Donna Nook is one of the wonders of Britain's coastline. Reporter Trevor Brookes was given an exclusive insight by Donna Nook Coastguard.
MORE than 3,000 visitors peered through binoculars and camera lenses on Sunday to watch a sea of seals snake their way along the sands at Donna Nook.
Most people had travelled from across Lincolnshire to catch a glimpse of a phenomenon which has now reached epic proportions.
But none had come from quite as far as renowned Spanish wildlife photographer Inaki Relanzon.
"For me, it's not normal to see wildlife as close as we can here. To be able to get so close to the seals is wonderful.
"Normally, animals are scared of people. Donna Nook is very, very good for me," said Mr Relanzon, who was shadowed by a Spanish national film crew, documenting his work.
The 33-year-old photographer, who lives in Barcalona, has caught nature on film in exotic and untouched locations throughout the world.
His awe-inspiring pictures include Canadian polar bears and Moroccan baboons.
Mr Relanzon said: "A friend of mine from London told me about the seals here. It was worth the journey."
I had been taken to see him working by the shore's edge at low tide by Donna Nook Coastguard.
The Coastguard's eight volunteer officers watch over 16 miles of sand, mud and greenshore from Saltfleet Haven to Haile Sand Fort, Cleethorpes.
The unique stretch of coastline includes an RAF bombing range, a nature reserve and, of course, the colony of 3,000 grey seals.
The coastguard officer in charge, Graham Merrikin, has seen the colony grow from around 200 seals when he first joined in 1966.
The population explosion has meant, each year, between 30,000-40,000 people come to see the seals between late October to Christmas.
Graham: "When the RAF is not using the bombing range, the public can go wherever they like. But if they come out at low tide to see the seals, it can take as long as an hour to return. A sea fog can descend at any time – it can be very dangerous.
"We advise people to always wear warm clothing, and take food and water with them."
At the sea's edge at low tide, a dip in the sand means the distant shoreline disappears from view. Much of the vast stretch of sand is soft underfoot - and it shifts each month.
"If people get into trouble, they should head due south or towards the sunset," Graham said.
The coastguard erected a 'cockle pole' in the 1970s so cockle pickers, who became trapped, could climb to the top and sit out an in-coming tide.
"If they are nearby, walkers can always head towards that," Graham said.
Visitors are asked to follow three simple guidelines when seal watching -

* Keep your distance from seals.
* Never touch a seal – a mother may abandon a pup if it smells of humans or dogs.
* Keep your dog on a lead and away from seals.

Coastguard officer John Frank added: "We often meet visitors who have brought prawns or sardines to feed the seals with. But, please, don't feed them."
His colleague, Keith Warsap, added: "On serene days like today, when the sun is out and the wind is calm, it's quite an experience to hear the seals' eerie cries, alone by the shore.
"But conditions can change – the coastline should always be treated with the utmost of respect."
As the sun went down over Donna Nook, I joined the madding crowd on its way home, leaving the seals to bask in the last of the day's winter sunshine.
Ninety-eight pups were born at Donna Nook in 2004 – and this year wildlife experts believe the 100 mark will be broken for the first time.
It seems the seals need all the rest they can get.
21 November 2005