Chief Executive, Pamela Abbott meets Catering Manager, Janine Shea at the cley centre

Coronavirus update: Norfolk Wildlife Trust opens Cley Marshes visitor centre

Wednesday 15 July, 2020

A ‘brew, a loo and a view’ as Norfolk Wildlife Trust reopens the visitor centre at its flagship nature reserve, Cley and Salthouse Marshes.

It has been nearly four months since NWT closed its five centres and bird watching hides around the county to help fight the spread of coronavirus in Norfolk. While all hides remain closed – affecting access at some of its nature reserves – NWT has been working hard to put safety measures in place to enable some of its centres to reopen this week, with a limited offering of take away refreshments and toilets available.

We have put new procedures in place to protect the health and wellbeing of staff, volunteers, members and visitors, including:
  • Installing safety signage, advising directional and distancing measures. 
  • All reception desks and catering counters have protective screens. 
  • No inside seating and the decking at Cley is also closed. 
  • A limit on the number of visitors in the centres at any one time. 
  • Queuing facilities with floor graphics outside the building.
  • Most doors are designated for entrance or exit only 
  • Touch-free hand sanitiser dispensers have been installed for visitors to use before entering the building. 
  • NWT is asking for contactless payment only. 
Chief Executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Pamela Abbott said: 
“This is the first step in our cautious re-opening and we are looking forward to welcoming back our members and visitors once again. We know many have been enjoying walking along the paths and East Bank at Cley overlooking the marshes. Although at the moment we must keep the hides and access boardwalk closed for safe social distancing measures, we are pleased to be able to offer toilet facilities, and a small take away menu.

“We are truly grateful to our members and visitors for being patient with us during the lockdown and for following the North Norfolk Coast’s ‘enjoy, respect, protect’ plea. We hope that everyone will feel reassured by the measures we have put in place to protect our staff, volunteers, members and visitors. We will continue to review the situation in light of any government updates.” 


NEW: NWT guidance on visitor centre safety measures - what to expect

The visitor centre at Hickling Broad reopened on Monday 13 July and welcomed visitors keen to spot Norfolk’s beautiful butterfly, the swallowtail, which is only found in the Broads National Park. The nature reserve here has been open for several weeks, with a one-way path system proving successful. The popular boat trail is not running but is under review as to when it can resume. NWT’s centre at Holme Dunes on the northwest corner of Norfolk has also reopened, although hides and their access routes remain closed.

NWT’s visitor centres and takeaway café service will be open 10am till 4pm every day. Car park charges are operating at Holme Dunes and will resume at Cley Beach car park from Saturday 18 July. With limited access on to Cley Marshes nature reserve as the hides and boardwalk are closed, there is currently no entry fee.

The visitor centre at Weeting Heath, which normally opens March until August, and provides access to two viewing hides, will not reopen this year. This reserve is home to the enigmatic stone curlews – ground nesting birds known as Norfolk Plovers – which people have been able to enjoy watching via webcams on the NWT website.

NWT is also not currently able to reopen the floating Broads Wildlife Centre at Ranworth Broad, because the boardwalk does not allow for adequate social distancing, but the car park re-opens on 28 July. From Ranworth Broad a webcam is broadcasting live footage of the nesting terns on a new platform on the broad.
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