Sunday, 21 August 2011


By the time we reach Cley Next The Sea, we are heading into wildlife watching heaven, something this stretch of Norfolk coast is well known for. Cley used to be a port but, unlike other places along the east coast where whole chunks of coast have been lost to the sea, here the sea has receded, leaving the former harbour village stranded. The resulting extra bit of land is Cley Marsh, an expanse of reeds surrounding brackish and freshwater lagoons. This NWT Cley Marshes Nature Reserve is a haven for breeding birds such as bearded tits and bitterns. Wildfowl enthusiasts should head here in winter, when this area is teeming with such species. There is a visitor centre on the approach to the village offering plenty of parking for those who want to set off walking.

The village itself has a handful of shops, including a smokehouse where smoked edibles can be bought. The church of St Margarets was the largest church in the area in medieval times, and used to overlook the harbour back when Cley was a port, but now overlooks the village green. Cley also has its own windmill, lending a jaunty Dutch appearance to the village skyline, and for those thinking of tying the knot it is possible to hire the windmill for weddings. The windmill also offers holiday accommodation.

Map of the area.

'Cley next the Sea' photo (c) 2008, Marco Chiesa - license:

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