NWT Cley Marshes, photo by Barry Madden 1/4
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Bearded tit, Cley Marshes, photo by Julian Thomas 3/4
Cley Marshes, photo by Richard Osbourne 4/4

Cley Marshes nominated for nature reserve of the year

Tuesday 29 December, 2015

Norfolk Wildlife Trust's Cley Marshes has been nominated for Nature Reserve of the Year in BBC Countryfile Magazine's Awards. It was nominated by writer, Simon Barnes, who said: "Cley has always been good, but it just got a great deal better. Purchased in 1926 to be held as a bird-breeding sanctuary, it acquired a vast new area of wetland this year and it’s jumping with wildlife. You can see spoonbills from the café, or penetrate the reeds for more challenging stuff."

Cheif Executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Brendan Joyce is thrilled with the nomination as the Trust prepares to begin celebrations for its 90th anniversary in 2016. "Cley Marshes is where The Wildlife Trusts movement began in 1926, when a group of 12 friends, led by Dr Sydney Long, had a vision of a county trust to purchase and protect this precious site and others like it. It provided a blue print for nature conservation which has been replicated across the UK.

"Now  90 years later it is the most popular of Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s nature reserve, attracting 110,000 birders and visitors a year from all around the world. The water levels in the pools and reed beds are regulated to ensure they are ideal for the resident birds, and reed is harvested every year to keep the reed beds in good condition. The shingle beach and saline lagoons, along with the grazing marsh and reed bed support large numbers of wintering and migrating wildfowl and waders, as well as bittern, marsh harrier and bearded tit."

The Cley Marshes Visitor Centre was opened in 2007, and proved tremendously successful, so much so that extra space was needed on site for wildlife education and to tell the story of the evolving landscape and its wildlife. This year the Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre was opened by Sir David Attenborough and NWT Ambassador, Ben Garrod.

Read about Cley Marshes in January by NWT's wildlife evangelist, Nick Acheson on the NWT blog.

Now in their fifth year, the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2015/16 are a celebration of our countryside and its people – from great heritage attractions and favourite holiday destinations, to the best nature reserves and the finest rural pubs. The 2015-16 Awards launch in the January 2016 issue of BBC Countryfile Magazine, on sale 18 December 2015, and feature 11 categories.

To whittle down contenders, BBC Countryfile Magazine asked experts in each field to draw up a shortlist of nominees for each category. These include BBC presenters John Craven, Ellie Harrison, Chris Packham and Miranda Krestovnikoff; writers Simon Barnes, Dixe Wills and Matt Swaine; photographer Guy Edwardes; BBC Gardener’s World editor Lucy Hall; Good Pub Guide editor Fiona Stapley and BBC art editor Tim Bates.

To cast votes, visit www.countryfile.com/awards2015-16 or send postal vote to BBC Countryfile Magazine, Tower House, Bristol, BS1 3BN. Voting closes 31 January. The winners will be announced in an online ceremony in March and will appear in the May issue of the magazine (on sale 8 April).

The Norfolk Broads has been nominated by BBC presenter Ellie Harrison in the National Park of the Year category.  She said: "Wetlands will surprise you. The established Broads offers haven for marsh harriers, bitterns and swallowtails (Britain’s biggest butterfly) among many others. The land also delivers long views between the horizons interrupted by gems of working heritage."
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