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.

Please note: There will be some disruption at the moment on the Cley skirts path as surface renewal work is carried out. Visitors will be guided past the machinery, but please be vigilant and stay clear / stop well before when approaching machinery or workmen if you have not been noticed.


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.

As we make the transition from the cold dark winter months to the new warmth of spring, NWT will be taking advantage of a small window of opportunity to undertake some habitat management works within the reserve.  

During February we will be carrying out a small pool restoration project in an area called Snipe’s marsh. We have chosen to do these works between the dispersal of wintering wildfowl and the arrival of spring birds to prevent disturbance but still restore the habitat in readiness for the breeding season.

Snipe’s marsh is on the upland boundary of the Cley and Salthouse nature reserve running along the A149 just south west of the East Bank carpark. Snipe’s marsh was affected by the storm surge in December of 2013 where large amounts of vegetation debris which become mobile within the storm surge was swept and then deposited in this upland pool. Since this time NWT have been looking for the best time and opportunity to clear the debris and restore this pool back to a reed margined area of open water.

There will be large plant machinery undertaking this work and we expect it to take less than five days to complete.

Thank you for you continued support and we hope you will be able to enjoy watching wildlife using Snipe’s marsh after the restoration has been completed.



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

Sorry, there's currently no Events matching the parameters given.
Share this