A lesser-known sight in West Cornwall – and something that always makes for a worthwhile trip when we fancy something a bit different – is the resident seal colony at Godrevy. You have to plan your visit for low tide, as at high tide the beach disappears and seals take to the sea to catch their dinner. Time it right though and you’ll be in for a real treat.
Mutton Cove, just past Godrevy head, is home to a large colony of Grey Seals, which can be seen throughout the year. Numbers begin to increase in Autumn, and by January you can see up to a hundred!
Park in either the National Trust Car Park at Godrevy, or slightly further up towards the headland in what we locals imaginatively call, ‘lay by car park’.
From the lay by, continue up the road on foot, passing the toilet block on your right, and make a right turn up and across the field. Chances are you’ll see a worn footpath from regular visitors to the seals. You’ll see signs about the seals and will soon reach the cliff top which looks down on to Mutton Cove and the seals. The seals are sensitive to noises so please approach the cliff top with care (as we would recommend you do for all cliff tops…) and keep noise to a minimum.
Although they can be seen with the naked eye, to get a close up view and study them individually, you’ll not regret taking binoculars or a camera with a telephoto lens. Both males and females can be seen, and if you’re as lucky as I was, a few pups too!
Mutton cove is surrounded by cliffs so, even if the seals welcomed visitors to their beach, access is all but impossible, but around the corner the seals can sometimes be seen playing in the sandy cove which you can get down to. Keep an eye on the state of the tide though as it’s possible to get cut off!
Once you’ve finished quietly oo-ing and ah-ing at the seals, make sure you walk a little further up to see the iconic Godrevy Lighthouse. Time it right and you may even be in for a stunning sunset over St Ives, like this one on Friday night:
Although the seals can be seen during any season at Godrevy, if you visit at the right time of year and are really lucky, you may even see basking sharks breaking the surface and dolphins jumping clear of the water.
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