Cley Calls to art and nature lovers this summer

Wednesday 01 May, 2019

A long summer weekend of wildlife and creativity inspired by the unique North Norfolk landscape is coming to Cley, Thursday 18 July – Sunday 21 July with many household names involved.

With Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Aspinall Centre as its hub, Cley Calling Changing Tides is a festival of writing, art, photography, music and performance all inspired by the natural world.  Each event in the festival reflects nature in a different way, through the eyes, the voice, the fingertips or the mind of a different artist.

Natural History journalists and authors, Patrick Barkham and Simon Barnes will each lead a guided walk around NWT Cley and Salthouse Marshes and give a talk on their bestselling books. Patrick recalls the pleasure – and pain – of trying to find all 59 species of British butterfly in one summer; Simon wrote a book about a year in the life of the marsh: which is really about the privilege of living with vulnerability.

He said: “I lost nature – and then I got it back. As a result I have written millions of words trying to help everyone else get it back. Which is why I wrote Rewild Yourself. We’re losing the wild world, sure, but we’re also losing our ability to notice it: to see it, hear it, smell it. So join NWT Wildlife Evangelist, Nick Acheson and me on a walk and for an evening talk to rewild yourself just a little.”

Families can NWT Children’s Ambassador, Jess French – vet, zoologist, minibeast expert and presenter of ‘Minibeast Adventure with Jess’ on CBeebies – on Saturday to learn all about the fascinating world of butterflies (free event). We’ll be all aflutter with a day of activities for families led by the Norfolk Butterfly Conservation Trust, including crafts and free guided walks.

On the Sunday we are celebrating marine wildlife, with a free full day of ‘Ocean Commotion’ on the beach with UEA’s Professor Ben Garrod and organisations including RSPB, RNLI, Friends of Horsey Seals, Temples Seal Trips, The Coastal Exploration Company, Cley Harbour, Holkham Hall, The Wash and North Norfolk Marine Partnership, Norfolk Trails and many more.

There will be performances from guitarist Kitty Macfarlane; and poetry readings from Kevin Crossley Holland, Jade Cuttle, Jonathan Ward, Jos Smith and Elizabeth Cook over pizza and Pimms.

For some lovers of the wild, engaging with nature involves detailed study, description and naming. With its mix of grazing marsh, saltmarsh and reedbed, Cley is not only a celebrated site for birds. Its varied habitats are also home to 27 species of butterflies. County recorder, Andy Brazil, leads a Butterflies for Beginners workshop combining classroom tuition and an afternoon of practical fieldwork.

Paul Richards will lead a workshop covering the essentials of good nature photography; Martin Gibbons teaches how to capture fleeting moments of birds in a drawing workshop.

There is even more to this celebration of all things wild in North Norfolk and of the wild creativity of people faced with nature: embroidery; exhibitions; guided walks; barbecue on the terrace; wildlife watching; the changing tides at Cley Marshes.

This is the fourth year of Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Cley Calling festivals. Full events listing and to book events where required or call the NWT Visitor Centre at Cley on 01263 740008.

Cley and Salthouse Marshes visitor centre manager, Ewan Carr said: “The Cley Calling festivals have grown in popularity each year as they show off this great landscape and encourage people of all ages to engage with wildlife, nature and the creative responses it inspires. Please come along and enjoy a range of events, many for free, all with a stunning Cley backdrop.”
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