Cley Marshes, photo by Barry Madden 1/3
Photo by Mike Page 2/3
Cley Marshes, photo by Barry Madden 3/3

Cley Marshes

NWT Cley Marshes is Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s oldest and best known nature reserve. It  was purchased in 1926 to be held 'in perpetuity as a bird breeding sanctuary'. It provided a blue print for nature conservation which has now been replicated across the UK.The water levels in the pools and reedbeds are regulated to ensure they are ideal for the resident birds, and reed is harvested every year to keep the reedbeds in good condition.

The shingle beach and saline lagoons, along with the grazing marsh and reedbed support large numbers of wintering and migrating wildfowl and waders, as well as bittern, marsh harrier and bearded tit.

A new eco-friendly visitor centre opened in 2007 containing a café, shop, viewing areas (including viewing from a camera on the reserve), exhibition area, interpretation and toilets. The view from the visitor centre across the Marsh to the sea is breathtaking.

In order to secure the essential funding for the restoration of the main shooting pools on the newly acquired Pope’s Marsh, NWT are having to work within a strict timescale. This winter’s storm surge caused a delay to the start of the pool restoration and as a result the works have extended further into March than originally planned. The work is proceeding well and every effort is being made to ensure the works are completed as soon as possible. Wildlife mitigation has taken place to ensure birds will not nest within the works area.

Access to Cley Marshes nature reserve
After the floods last year, all hides are now accessible, although there may be some further disruption.The East Bank has also now re-opened.


The Feathered Marsh is a beautiful short timelapse film made by Elixir Media Productions with the support of Norfolk Wildife Trust. It was filmed entirely at Norfolk Wildlife Trust's Cley Marshes nature reserve in 2011, the reserve's 85th anniversary. For further details of Elixir Media follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

'Cley - Walks With the Warden' is a short film that joins one of the reserve's weekly guided walks with current warden Bernard Bishop, whose great-grandfather, Robert Bishop was the site's first warden way back in 1926. The film was made by Norwich filmmaker Matthew Robinson. To find out more about his work visit:

What to look for


avocet, spoonbill, various waders.


wigeon, pintail, brent goose, wintering wildfowl, various seabirds.

Year round

bittern, marsh harrier, bearded tit, teal.


Audio Trail

We have a fantastic audio trail at NWT Cley Marshes. Listen in on the personal reflections of ten people as they discuss what makes NWT Cley Marshes a special place for them. Learn about the reserve’s history, wildlife, management and future through a 20-minute audio trail that can be hired free of charge from Cley visitor centre. Through this interactive interpretation we hope people will see the reserve in a new light and understand why we think it is such a fantastic place both for people and wildlife.



Post code
NR25 7SA
Map reference
OS Landranger 133
Grid reference
TG 054 440
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Living Landscape
Best time to visit
Opening times
Dog policy
Visitor centre

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