The Seal Colony at Ravenscar

Ravenscar is an amazing place to visit. Its high vantage point gives spectacular views along the coast to Robin Hoods Bay. The walk from here to Robin Hoods Bay is very popular, I described this in another post (The Cleveland Way – Ravenscar to Robin Hood’s Bay). It is also home to a large colony of seals, which you can visit. This colony is well worth visiting if you don’t mind a bit of climbing.

Seal Colony

The seal colony is at the foot of the cliffs, directly underneath the Raven Hall Hotel. Down on the rocky beach, you’ll find both Common Seals and Grey Seals lounging around. It’s advisable not to get too close to the animals, a distance of 10 meters is recommended. The two Common Seals I’ve featured in the photos were just resting about 50 feet from where the path meets the beach, I sat quietly at the recommended distance and watched them for about 30 minutes, they didn’t seem at all bothered by my presence and were quite happy to pose for a photo! Absolutely amazing, I couldn’t believe how close I was to them. It was a truly unforgettable experience I’ll never forget.

The main colony of about 300 seals is found on the large flat rock (Peak Steel), farthest from the beach. As well as the rock the surrounding sea is full of seals. These are mostly Grey Seals. You can get excellent views if you have a pair of binoculars, the main colony don’t seem as happy to have visitors in close proximity.

Finding the Colony

There is plenty of free on-street car parking in Ravenscar, although it does get busy in summer. You may have walked or cycled here, Ravenscar is on the Cleveland Way and also the Whitby to Scarborough Cinder Track. You can also get a bus from Scarborough but this only runs a couple of times a day.

To get down to the seal colony follow the rocky track which starts between the entrance to the Raven Hall hotel and the National Trust shop. This leads down to the Raven Hall golf course.

About 250 yards down the track there is a wooden fingerpost. At this point walk across the grass towards the cliff edge and pick up a path which runs all the way down to the beach. The path is quite steep in places and can be muddy if it’s been raining. Make sure you check the tide times as the whole beach floods at high tide.

It is also possible to walk along the beach from Boggle Hole or Robin Hood’s Bay (see my post The Cleveland Way – Ravenscar to Robin Hood’s Bay). Again, check the tide times before setting off.

Pups are born in June and July (Common Seals) and in November (Gray Seals). Every year many die because their mums are being disturbed by dogs and abandoning their pups. The pups also become very distressed by dogs, so please keep dogs on a lead. Also, the nearest distance should be extended to around 50 metres if there are pups around. Take a pair of binoculars and a telephoto lens for your camera and you’ll still get a great view.