The Cley Visitor Centre will re-open on 12th April but the boardwalk and all hides are currently closed. All car parks are open.
The following information was supplied by NWT
Visitors will enter via the main entrance, controlled by the traffic light system
Numbers will remain limited to 10 for entrance to the centre
We are expecting the car park machines to be in place imminently at the beach and centre (though no confirmed date as yet)
The gallery will host exhibitions from opening on 12th April
Cley Spy will return from 12th April, though may not be open every day
The terrace is intended to be fully open with previous social distancing measures in place (if we can loosen some bolts and remove a table) as well as the picnic area. Neither of these is dedicated café seating and as such will only be available for takeaway rather than table service
The events guide has some limited walks in place for the first period 12th April to 17th May with more events returning on 17th May
The beach car park will remain manned this year with David and Ritchie returning. They will have more of an engagement role following the installation of the car parking machine at the beach.
The hides will remain closed until 17th May at the earliest (at this stage) due to a combination of the complication around indoor space rules before this time and the apparent nest building of our Marsh Harriers near the boardwalk to the main hides.
Masks remain required in place for all in the building at all times unless exempt.
Updates will be posted here when they become available.
Although much of the site is available for all to explore, some areas cannot be accessed without logging in and, obviously, some pages have full access restricted to CBC members.
If you were registered on the old site and/or are a Cley Bird Club member you can log on here, but, this time, please use your email address. If you cannot remember the email you registered with, please email us telling us your name and the 2-4-character initials code you used on the old site and we will send you details.
If you were not registered before you can do so by selecting the Register link in the header.
Passwords on the new site must be at least 6 characters long and include at least one uppercase letter, one lower case letter and one number. If your old password didn’t meet this rule then you will need to reset your password. To do this click on Forgotten Password just below the Login sign. This will send you to a page where you are asked for your email. After completeing this you will receive an email with a link to allow you to set a new password.
Any sightings and photos you have entered in the past can still be found on the new site.
Most functionality is still present but some aspects of the website may look slightly different.
You can now add your sightings of mammals, butterflies and dragonflies, along with bird sightings, via the Add a Sighting page and these can be viewed on the Wildlife News Page. If you need to edit your sightings this can be done from the My Sightings page which can be accessed from the Wildlife News page.
Photographs can be attached to sightings, but only your own. If you want to add a photo you must first add a sighting. Multiple photos can be attached but only one at a time so if you want to add a second, you need to submit the sighting then go to the My Sightings page and edit the sighting, where you can add another photo. You can now also delete a photo from here if you have erroneously added the wrong one.
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Since 24th December 2020, the reserve has been closed to the public. With reserve staff still able to work, some management has carried on behind the scenes, albeit less than normal years, due to volunteers unable to help during lockdown.
Some restoration cutting has been carried out at Cley, but with limited resources, smaller areas were worked on. The most noticeable for visitors will be an area alongside the boardwalk to the main hides, at the roundabout. The reed in this area hasn’t been cut for a long time, so we took advantage of a closed boardwalk to work here. Cutting this area will create a different age structure of reed in this part of the reed bed, but will also clean out some organic debris which has built up over time, allowing a better flow of water and access for reed bed species. Some debris is left, by not cutting other areas, which benefits Bearded Tits.
This stretch of boardwalk also has a good variety of plants along its edge, including Woody Nightshade, Gypsywort, Red Campion and Fox sedge. Cutting the reed will allow more light to these areas and benefit these plants. Within 6 months, the reed will re-grow and in 2-3 years the other areas can be cut, continuing the varied age structure.
Annual Winter Works
An excavator was hired in February to carry out some annual ditching work, this was done mostly around the ‘new land’. Whilst on site, the machine also improved some of the bunds and structures at Cley to enable us to control water levels better, as cattle have trodden these down, making them less effective. Within 24 hrs of doing this, the levels on Bull Marsh had risen, flooding some areas of the marsh (photo below) and attracting the large numbers of Brent Geese that use the reserve, but also hundreds of Lapwing, White-fronted Geese, Dunlin and Golden Plover.
Access- Bishops Hide Path
After the 1st lockdown, in March-June 2020, the path to Bishops hide became very overgrown. Once cut and cleared, it became very muddy over the winter months and almost impassable.
The path to the hide was already made up of hoggin, but had disappeared over time, so the path has been improved by adding more material on top of the existing path. Some wooden boarding was added along the edges to enable the path to be levelled out and allow better wheelchair access, with passing places.
A Great White Egret has been a regular visitor to the area and can still often be seen from the visitor centre car park, on South Pool. There have also been reports of 3 birds roosting in North Foreland woods.
There have been good sightings of winter geese again this year. A maximum of 2600 Pink Footed Geese were recorded on the reserve in January. These birds have now mostly left the Norfolk Coast, heading back to their breeding grounds in Iceland.
Amongst the Pinks, there have been a maximum number of 92 White Fronted Geese (Picture below) and a several Bean Geese.
Norfolk Wildlife Trust have recently purchased a small parcel of wet grassland at Kelling, which will be added and managed as part of the ‘Cley & Salthouse’ reserve. There are plans to stock fence the boundary in the near future and carry out some improvement works on the marsh to better accommodate breeding waders and overwintering wildfowl.
Thanks to anyone who has been able to submit any records and to David and Pat Wileman for collating them.