The Cley Bird Club Area

The Cley Bird Club monitors and reports on birds within the ‘Cley Square’.  This is defined as the 10Km Square with OS Grid Reference TG04.  It covers the area of the North Norfolk coast from Morston in the west to Kelling in the east.  The southern boundary is between Langham and Field Dalling at the western end and just north of High Kelling in the east.  It includes the Bayfield estate but not Letheringsett, Holt or High Kelling.  We do include an extension to the west to cover all of Blakeney Point and to the east for Kelling Heath because it is difficult in these two areas to determine whether sightings received are in or out of the official 10Km square.  The northern boundary is out to sea and all birds viewed from the coast are considered as in the Square.

A bird list for the area can be accessed from the 'Bird Records' tab above.

The map below (updated February 2015) shows the area covered.

You can download a printable copy of this map together with the key by clicking here.

The main birding areas are detailed below.  The numbers in brackets refer to the map above.

Blakeney National Nature Reserve  (National Trust)

Blakeney Point

A shingle spit west of Cley owned by the National Trust, comprised of vegetated shingle, saltmarsh and sand dunes. It is a 3½ mile walk from Cley Beach car-park to the Point or it can be accessed by boat from Morston Quay at high tide. (Details of boats can be found on the 'Related Sites' page.)

There are restrictions at certain times of year (mostly April-mid August) to protect the ground nesting seabird colonies and seals. The western end of the point cannot be accessed at anytime of year and dogs can only be walked in a small area near Cley and around the Lifeboat House between April and mid August. The seabird colonies will be fenced off and these areas should be avoided altogether. All of the Point's breeding birds can be seen feeding on the sea, in the harbour or from a seal ferry. The Point is justly famous for its migrants and rarities.

Places you may see refered to in bird reports are:

A new map of Blakeney Point showing these and more places you may see mentioned in bird records or on information services can be viewed, downloaded or printed by clicking here.

Blakeney Harbour

The area of tidal saltmarsh and open water enclosed by the Point.  'The Pit' (12) is the deepest part. Great for feeding waders at low tide and fishing terns at high tide.

Morston Quay (13)

Situated to the north of Morston village off the A149,  the National Trust information centre is situated here together with a large National Trust run car-park.  Boat trips run from here to see the seals and terns on Blakeney Point. Some make a short stop on the Point of up to an hour.

Blakeney Quay  (14)

Situated to the north of Blakeney village off the A149.  Another large National Trust car-park gives access to the Coast Path.  A few boat trips also run from here to see the seals and terns on Blakeney Point.  

Blakeney Freshmarsh

Also known as The Freshes or Blakeney Grazing Marsh  (GM).

As the name reflects this is an area of grazing marsh, meadows and reedbed within a sea wall which forms part of the North Norfolk Coast Path.  It is part owned by the National Trust and part by local landowners and tenant farmers. It stretches from the River Glaven in the east to Blakeney Quay in the west.

Friary Hills  (15)

A hilly area south of Blakeney Freshmarsh; superb views over the Freshes can be had from the top.  It attracts migrants  in spring and autumn. No dogs are allowed.

More information on the all areas within the Blakeney NNR can be found on the National Trust website.

Cley & Salthouse area

Cley & Salthouse Marshes Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) Reserve

This covers the area north of the A149 between Cley Beach Road and Kelling.  It consists of fresh water scrapes, brackish lagoons and grazing meadows.

For convenience we have split this into four parts:

1. Cley Beach Road to E Bank (the original Cley Reserve)
2. E Bank to Iron Rd.
3. Iron Rd to Beach Road Salhouse
4. Beach Road Salthouse to Kelling.

1. Cley Beach Road to E Bank

The following places are shown on the map above:

For a more DETAILED MAP of the reserve (updated April 2017 following the December flood) showing those places you may see mentioned in bird records or on information lines click here to view, download or print it.

2. East Bank to Iron Road 

Following the purchase by the NWT of land in this area many changes have been made for conservation purposes and additional access.  We have now produced a DETAILED MAP of this area (updated April 2017 following the December flood) showing those places you may see mentioned in bird records or on information lines. Click here to view, download or print it.

& 4 - Salthouse Marshes 

The area north of the A149 forms an eastward continuation of the grazing marshes of Cley and much of it is owned or managed by the NWT.  Unfortunately, following the tidal surge of December 2013 the Beach car park no longer exists but there is limited parking on Beach Rd.  Places you may hear of are:

We hope in future to produce more detailed maps of this area.

Further information on Cley & Salthouse Marshes NWT can be found on the NWT website

Cley Village

Many of the fields around Cley village attract birds and you may often find references to some of the following places.

Salthouse Heath

An area of heath and scrub on the ridge to the south of Salthouse. This has always been a prime spot for Nightingales and Nightjars in the area but numbers have reduced drastically in recent years.

Walsey Hills (30)

Owned by the Norfolk Ornithologists' Association.  This area of scrub woodland and pines can be good for migrants in spring and autumn.  The NOA Watchpoint gives good views over the marshes.

Kelling area

Kelling Water Meadow and Quags

A walk along Meadow Lane northwards towards the sea. The site reveals a varied habitat with a pool suitable for waders and ducks, a lane that attracts passerines and the opportunity to seawatch from Kelling Hard.

Kelling Heath

This is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) of approximately 220 acres of well-managed acid heathland on the eastern edge of the Cley Square.  In most years it supports breeding birds such as Stonechat, Woodlark, Dartford Warbler, Nightjar, Turtle Dove, Linnet and a few other species. 

A few interesting migrants may be found during spring and autumn passage and it can be a good place from which to watch large raptors flying over on migration.

Points you may hear refered to are:

For more information look at the Kelling Heath Wildlife website

Wiveton & Glandford

These two villages lie on the R. Glaven (16). 

Places you may see refered to are:

Wiveton Downs (49)

This is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and a local nature reserve of both geological and wildlife interest. The site is elevated above the surrounding countryside giving excellent views over the village of Wiveton and the North Norfolk Coast, an area of outstanding natural beauty.  Click here for a map.


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