The popular Blue Lagoon at Abereiddy will close to visitors earlier than usual this autumn to safeguard a thriving seal population.
Typically, this time of year witnesses the lagoon bustling with seals and their pups. In a yearly tradition, National Trust Cymru seals off access to the area in late September to prevent any disturbance to the seals.
The Pembrokeshire coast features extensive areas where Atlantic grey seals frequently breed, giving birth to their young on secluded beaches. However, due to their early arrival at the end of the summer in 2023, the trust has opted to close the former slate quarry earlier than its usual November closure date, specifically on September 23.
The combination of an increasing number of grey seals breeding around the lagoon, the high volume of visitors to the Blue Lagoon, and its sheltered environment heightens the risk of disturbing the seals, as stated by the trust.
The Blue Lagoon and the neighboring beaches serve as ideal spots for seals to rest on land, digest their recent meals, socialize, and care for their offspring. The intention is to reopen the lagoon on November 4, but this will be contingent upon seal breeding activity during that period.
Just three weeks ago, the National Trust also closed Mwnt Beach in southern Ceredigion to protect seals and their pups.
Visitors will still have the opportunity to observe these untamed creatures in their natural habitat from the Wales Coast Path. Coasteering activity providers who have committed to the National Trust’s Coasteering Agreement and have received specialized training on seal interaction will continue to access the lagoon with pre-booked visitor groups.
To ensure the well-being of seals during this crucial period, National Trust Cymru strongly recommends adhering to the Pembrokeshire Marine Code: maintain silence, keep a respectful distance of at least 50 meters from seals, avoid coming between a seal and its pup or between a seal and the sea, and refrain from bringing dogs near seal breeding areas.
Furthermore, if an individual encounters a seal that appears to be in distress or separated from its group, it is essential not to approach the pup. Seals are frequently left alone on the beach, and interacting with them can induce distress. For any concerns related to seals or seal pups, please contact the Welsh Marine Life Rescue conservation group at 01646 692943 or 07970 285086, where further guidance can be provided.