Covid 19 Visitor Centre safety measures

© Frederic Landes


In line with the government's Covid 19 Response Autumn, Winter 2021, Norfolk Wildlife Trust continues to follow a phased and cautious approach to our visitor centre operation. As the guidance continues to progress we have been working hard to adapt to new procedures and safety measures, which has enabled our centres to remain open, albeit with some restrictions still in place. Our visitor centres will closely follow Government Covid guidance.

We continue to advise our visitors to follow the government's continued guidelines on minimising travel, so please stay local. Where it is possible and appropriate, we have worked one way systems into the centres and on the reserves and introduced some new passing spaces on boardwalks. Please enquire directly to the centres for further details.

In line with the government announcement of 30 November 2021, all visitors to the centres will be required to wear a face covering unless exempt, in accordance with the retail setting. This applies to all areas of the centre, including integrated café areas, where only seated visitors are not required to wear face coverings. All hides will be open in accordance with government Covid measures and we are requesting that in keeping with all other indoor settings that visitors wear a face covering.

At NWT Cley and Salthouse Marshes and NWT Holme Dunes we have re-introduced most of our internal seating in line with government measures for consuming refreshments and, as before, external seating and toilet facilities are available at all sites.

We have produced a comprehensive guide for our staff and site managers, along with a Covid risk assessment. Below you will find some insight into the preparations we have made to ensure safety, and to let you know of the measures we have put into place that you can expect on your visit. The full document is available on request.

We are truly grateful to our members and visitors for being patient with us during these continued unprecedented times and for following the North Norfolk Coast’s ‘enjoy, respect, protect’ plea. We will continue to review the situation in light of any Government updates.

Signage and limiting visitor numbers

We have installed safety signage throughout every visitor centre. This includes instruction around social distancing measures, hand sanitisation stations and directional signage to help manage the flow of visitors.

Our centres vary in size and layout, so to help keep everyone safe, we will limit the number of customers visiting at any one time. 


External queues

This might mean at times that visitors need to queue outside of the buildings. We will use signs and floor graphics to indicate direction of travel and safe distances for the queues.

Entrances and hand sanitising

Most doors will have clear signage as entrance or exit doors only. They will remain open where possible to reduce touch points. We have installed touch free sanitiser units at each centre, which we request visitors use as they enter the building. 

Face Coverings

In line with Government advice the wearing of face coverings by all visitors is mandatory, unless you have an exemption that prevents you from doing so or you are under 11 years old. Any visitor now entering the building, as it is a retail space, will now by law be required to wear a face covering. All visitors are additionally requested to wear a face covering in an internal catering setting, except when they are seated at a table to eat or drink (unless exempt). Visitors are also requested to wear face coverings in the hides. All staff are required to wear face coverings in catering and retail settings (unless exempt). All those visitors attending indoor events will also be expected to wear a face covering, unless they are seated for the purpose of consuming refreshments.

Social distancing, furniture and layout

With stage 4 of the government's road map, we will continue to have signs reminding visitors about safe distancing and floor graphics to ensure spacing around the welcome desks and counters. All centres will maintain good and effective ventilation, with doors and windows open at all times where it is appropriate.
At each centre we have reviewed the furniture layout to ensure there is adequate space for staff and visitors to move around in safely. In some areas we have used tables and other fixtures to create social distancing pathways.

All reception desks and catering counters will have a protective screen in place.

Please only approach the desks to make payment or receive products. Our staff will not hand retail items directly to you, and we ask that you please hold items with the price facing the staff so they can be easily viewed.

Cafe offering

At catering counters, please use the safe social distancing floor graphic and only approach the counter when directed to pay or to receive refreshments. These will be placed on the counter, not self-selected by visitors.

We continue to have restricted internal seating at Cley Marshes and Holme Dunes visitor centres. Visitors will be directed to tables and all orders will be processed at the table. For those visitors seated at a table consuming refreshments, we will be collecting visitor details as part of the government Test and Trace system. Visitors also have the option of submitting their details if they have the Covid NHS app by scanning the Covid NHS QR Code poster that will be on display at the entrance to the centres. (Visitors should only remove face coverings if they are seated at a table consuming refreshments).

We will continue to increase our menu offer for seated visitors over the coming weeks and months. We acknowledge that the extra use of single use packaging will have to increase in line with this, but the vast majority of this will be recyclable.

Visitor services, social distancing and transactions at our tills

We will continue to deliver a warm, knowledgeable service that you expect at our visitor centres. It might be that some of the points of engagement take a little longer than normal and we ask you to bear with us while we all adapt to this new way of working. 

We ask that payments are made by contactless card only (which have now been raised to £45 limit). We also ask that visitors try to only handle stock which they are intending to buy. Any unwanted stock that is touched and not purchased must be handed in to the reception desk.


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): what we are providing 

PPE and its safe and sensible usage during the Covid 19 outbreak is fundamental to our approach.

Staff at all centres have access to comprehensive PPE kits that include customer sanitising stations, disposable gloves, disinfectant spray, hand sanitisers, hazard tape, face masks, face visors and protective screens. We already have stringent hygiene rules in place as part of our food management system, but all staff have now been directed to increase hand sanitisation throughout the day to minimise the threat of infection.

At our other visitor centre nature reserves

  • We have resumed charging for parking at NWT Holme Dunes and NWT Cley Marshes now that the visitor centres have reopened. We have not placed specific social distancing measures on parking but we request all visitors to remain mindful of social distancing measures when arriving or leaving from their vehicles. Our centres will be cleaned on an enhanced touch point cleaning regime throughout the day.
  • Our visitor toilets will be open as usual with enhanced cleaning regimes and regular touch point cleaning through the day. All toilets will be run on a single person or where possible a single household entry.
  • We have now resumed our usual comprehensive range of events activities at all sites. We continue to achieve this within the government guidelines but please keep up to date through our website of any possible changes to this. In the meantime, we will also continue with our very successful and popular range of digital events with NWT’s Nick Acheson in discussion with guest panellists. Please keep an eye on the website and on our social media channels for more information. For details of what events are running and for event procedures, please contact the visitor centres directly.

Hickling Broad and Marshes

The Hickling Broad car park is open as usual. At NWT Hickling Broad we continue to have a one way route system in place around the reserve which allows for some alternate routes to be taken. Some small single access points have been closed currently. The access to Stubb Mill through the reserve from the Whiteslea track is wide enough to accommodate a two way system but as always we request visitors to be mindful of safe social distancing. Normal reserve entry charges apply.

Holme Dunes

NWT Holme Dunes car park is open as usual along with reserve access (although access along the hides path is closed currently). All hides are open. The reserve entry point to the back of the dunes system will be open as normal. Normal reserve entry charges apply.

Cley and Salthouse Marshes

All NWT car parks at NWT Cley and Salthouse Marshes are open as usual. All hides are open as usual. There are no one way systems in place but we request that visitors remain mindful of social distancing guidelines. Normal reserve entry charges apply.

Ranworth Broad and Marshes

The NWT carpark will open alongside the visitor centre opening. There is a partial one way system in place and passing spaces along the board walk but we request that visitors remain mindful of social distancing guidelines. The reserve is free to enter.

Weeting Heath

The NWT carpark will open alongside the visitor centre. All hides are open as usual. There is no one way system in place but we request that visitors remain mindful of social distancing guidelines. Normal reserve entry charges apply.

We look forward to welcoming visitors to our centres and nature reserves.