Seal of approval!

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SEAL-watchers are in for a treat as a new wildlife attraction officially opens to the public.

The completion of a seal viewpoint brings huge improvements for visitors to Greatham Creek, near Hartlepool, following a cash boost from Tata Steel and Natural England.

Documentary photographer Ian Macdonald, who captured the life of the residents of a small community of house boats at Greatham Creek during the early 1970s, will officially open the viewpoint at a ceremony on Monday.

A footpath, boardwalk and covered viewpoint overlooking the area where seals haul out on the mudflats have been constructed thanks to the funding via Tata Steel’s Landfill Communities Funding programme and Natural England’s Green Infrastructure.

Dave Braithwaite, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ (RSPB) site manager at Saltholme, said: “For the RSPB, wildlife and people go hand in hand in our mission to save nature and we can’t do it without the support of industry and by working closely with other conservation organisations.”

The opening of the viewpoint marks the start of a varied programme of events for visitors, including the RSPB’s Date with Nature project in July as well as guided walks and storytelling events led by Natural England. The facility will also be used by school children for educational visits.

The seal viewpoint will be open seven days a week.