Monday 06 January, 2014

Here's the latest: we'll keep updating this story.

Access to Cley Marshes nature reserve
All hides are now accessible, although there may be some further disruption. The East bank remains closed by the Environment Agency.

14 January 2013

NWT is still assessing the storm surge/flooding situation at Cley Marshes and we are working with Environment Agency and Natural England regarding the breaches that have occurred. We then hope to form a plan to reinstate boardwalks and hides that have been severely damaged or lost. At this stage please keep an eye on our website for further news.

3 January 2014

Norfolk Wildlife Trust would like to give special thanks to all the volunteers who gave up their time in the busy run-up to Christmas to help out in the initial clear up at Cley and Salthouse  following the storm surge.  Their hard work and support has enabled the opening of the Bishops Hide and access path from the East bank through to Cley village and ensured visitors could access the reserve through the Christmas and New Year period.  Access to the reserve would not have been possible without the impressive turn out and dedication of volunteers and staff for which Norfolk Wildlife Trust is extremely grateful.

The New Year will see us look to working on the main block of hides however this is going to take much longer because the structural part of the boardwalk to them has been severely damage.  We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause visitors and appreciate your patience and understanding.

Norfolk Wildlife Trust is extremely concerned about the breaches in the shingle bank as sea water continues to enter the reserve’s freshwater marshes on high tides.  We are  working with both the Environment Agency and Natural England to agree a schedule for the EA to carry out the necessary repairs.

23 December 2013

Access to Cley Marshes nature reserve this Christmas and new year.

Due to the recent coastal flooding, we currently have limited access to the nature reserve (to and from Bishop's Hide only). Visitor Centre remains open as usual and fully accessible. We have reduced our admission fee to £2 as a result but please consider matching that fee with a £2 donation. Your donation will be used to fund the repairs to Cley Marshes, which include repairs to boardwalks, hides, and paths. Currently we estimate our repairs will cost up to £100,000. Thank you.

Wednesday 11 December

We have been very touched by calls from our many members and visitors, concerned about Cley Marshes and offering donations. We are assessing the results of the current flooding and will continue to do so.  However, our initial assessment suggests that lessons learned from 1996 flooding, particularly relating to improving the outlet sluices, have reduced the impact on the reserve. There will be a cost, certainly, and we ask anyone wishing to donate to support repair & restoration work at Cley to put these donations towards our existing Cley Marshes appeal. Donations will then help us with our overall restoration costs including any impact from the flood.

Monday 9 December

Ranworth Boardwalk is now open –there was no flood damage.

NWT staff are currently assessing Cley and Salthouse reserves for infrastructure and habitat damage, today was the first opportunity for this process to begin. A full assessment has to be carried out for insurance purposes and therefore the clearing up operation will not take place immediately. We will update the website regarding opening up of the reserves of Cley and Salthouse Marshes to visitors and news about any possible assistance that may be needed for the ‘clear up’ operation. The visitor centre at Cley Marshes is open as usual!

The waters at Thope Marshes have receded to normal winter levels.

Saturday 7 December

Cley Marshes visitor centre is open today

Friday 6 December

CEO of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Brendan Joyce was up at NWT Cley Marshes Friday 6 December to see the effects of the flood.

“The reserve has flooded up to and including the coast road and the lower car park to the visitor centre, although the visitor centre itself is unharmed. We are hopeful that the water will recede quickly now that the worst has passed and only then can we properly assess the damage to habitats and  site infrastructure. The north (Swarovski) hide has been completely destroyed but the others remain standing and when the water has receded we will be able to see the effect on these, the boardwalk and paths, fences, gates bridges and other site infrastructure. We are concerned about a number of breaches in the shingle ridge and believe it is essential that these are repaired by Environment Agency at the earliest opportunity.

"We now face a very big clear up and repair operation indeed as there will be a lot of debris and vegetation to remove and infrastructure to repair and replace. As far as longer term impacts are concerned, previous experience of such events, whilst devastating in the short term, suggest that the habitats will make a full recovery although this will take time. For example the numbers of fresh water fish and invertebrates in the freshwater dykes and pools will need to build up again and the grazing marshes may take a year or two to fully recover.

"We have been in this situation before and no doubt will be again, but we remain confident that this rare event does not spell doom for the reserves and that they will recover.

"The visitor centre and reserve have been inaccessible today and the reserve is likely to remain so until the water has receded and we can repair access routes and visitor faciltiies. But we aim to re-open the centre as soon as the coast road can be reopened and the car park cleared of debris to make it safe to access. Please check our website for regular updates. Our other coastal reserve, NWT Holme Dunes, and those in the Broads thankfully have not suffered as we feared they might."

NWT Ranworth Broad is also closed due to the high water and risk of flooding.

Hickling Broad and Martham Broad still have a watching brief regarding whether the first high tide recedes before the next tide arrives. Currently Hickling Broad is open for visitors, staff having checked paths for fallen trees/branches – however, conditions will continue to be assessed.

The marshes at NWT Thorpe Marshes are flooded and water is still coming in. With wellies, you can get to the riverside footpath, but not through the marshes.

Holme Dunes appears to have weathered the storm with local flooding affecting the golf course to the west of the reserve only. The reserve is open as usual.

All remaining reserves will be checked for storm damage to visitor and livestock infrastructure.
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