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). we have since added to this with the fantastic Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre, a courtyard and viewing deck. The view from the visitor centre across the Marsh to the sea is breathtaking.

Flooding January 13 2017

Following the flooding at the weekend, reserve staff are now carrying out a clean-up and repair programme.  As at Thursday 18 January: the coast road is now open to access Cley, the Visitor Centre and car parks are open.  The walks 'circuit' on the reserve is accessible however the hides and boardwalk will remain closed until further notice.  The beach road is now clear but the beach car park is closed but likely that it will open at the weekend.  Please check with the Visitor Centre for further information and updates. Thank you.

Bird hide maintenance winter 2016

Please note from 31 October 2016, work is being carried out to re-ridge the three central hides at Cley (Avocet, Teal, Dauke’s).  It is estimated it will take six working days per hide which will be closed to the public while they are being worked on.  Two hides will be completed by mid-November and third will start and finish in January 2017.


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.

The Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre

Our new education centre has been designed for visitors to discover and be inspired by wildlife and includes:
  • Films, touchscreens and displays
  • Events for all ages and abilities
  • Adult learning workshops
  • Evening talks and performances
  • The Aspinall Centre can also be booked for business meetings and community use.
The centre is named in memory of naturalist, Simon Aspinall (1958 – 2011) in recognition of his contribution to ornithology
and nature conservation, both in the UK and abroad. Read more about the centre and the programme of events here.



Post code
NR25 7SA
Map reference
OS Landranger 133
Grid reference
TG 054 440
SPA, SAC, SSSI, Ramsar
Get directions
Living Landscape
Best time to visit
Opening times
Dog policy
Visitor centre
Entrance fee

Upcoming events at Cley Marshes

Dancing in the rain, Cley Marshes
Wed 11 Jan 2017 - Tue 24 Jan 2017
Event Info
Ramble and roast, Cley Marshes
Sun 22 Jan 2017
Event Info
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