Covid 19 visitor centre safety measures

In line with the governments Covid 19 Response Spring 2021 Norfolk Wildlife Trust we followed a phased and cautious reopening of our visitor centres on 12 April as part of the government’s 4 step roadmap to recovery. We have now been welcoming visitors back to our sites and 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 reopen, albeit with some restrictions still.

Our visitor centres will closely follow Government Covid guidance. We know many of you have been enjoying access to the reserves prior to the centres reopening and so we have been pleased to be able to resume with some of our other visitor facilities. We continue to advise our visitors to follow the governments continued guidelines of minimising travel, so please stay local. Where it is possible and appropriate we have worked one way systems in the centres and on the reserves and introduced some new passing spaces on boardwalks. We have also resumed a limited boat offer at NWT Hickling and Ranworth Broad. Please enquire directly to the centres for further details.  

Some hides will now reopen on 17 May, the exception will be the main central hides at NWT Cley and Salthouse Marshes which will have to remain closed because of a nesting marsh harrier. Bishops and Babcock hide will reopen. Access to Weeting Heath hides will no longer require pre-booking in advance. All hides will be open in accordance with government Covid measures. 

All visitors to NWT Holme Dunes need to use the online car park booking system which applies to weekends, public holidays and school holidays: 1 – 4 June 2021 and 22 July – 3 September 2021.

At NWT Cley and Salthouse Marshes and NWT Holme Dunes we will also then re-introduce some 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 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 required to wear a face covering in an internal catering setting except when they are seated at a table to eat or drink (unless exempt). All staff are required to wear face coverings in catering and retail settings (unless exempt). 

Social distancing, furniture and layout

In the centres we have signs reminding visitors about safe distancing and floor graphics to ensure spacing around the welcome desks and counters.
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 you please hold items with the price facing the staff so they can be easily viewed. 

Cafe offering

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

From 17 May we will have limited internal seating at Cley Marshes and then at Holme Dunes visitor centre from 24 May.  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); with rare exceptions will we consider other methods of payment. 

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 where it will be either sanitised or quarantined for 48 hours. 


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

  • Our visitor centres at Cley and Salthouse Marshes, Hickling Broad and Marshes, Ranworth Broad and Marshes and Holme Dunes will open daily 10am-4pm. Weeting Heath will be open from 9.30am – 4.30pm daily.
  • We have resume charging for parking at NWT Holme Dunes and NWT Cley Marshes now that the visitor centres have reopened. All visitors to NWT Holme Dunes need to use the online car park booking system which applies to weekends, public holidays and school holidays: 1 – 4 June 2021 and 22 July – 3 September 2021. 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. 
  • Events – We have been particularly saddened during this period of closure to not be able to deliver on our usual comprehensive range of events activities at all sites and we are hoping that we will be able to recommence with this over the coming months. We will shortly be posting a programme for Cley for the April to July period and we are hopeful that we will be able 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 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 accommodate a two way system but as always we request visitors to be mindful of safe social distancing. Normal reserve entry charges will 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 visitors to NWT Holme Dunes need to use the online car park booking system which applies to weekends, public holidays and school holidays: 1 – 4 June 2021 and 22 July – 3 September 2021. The first hide and the access route will open after 17 May, all other hides currently remain closed. The reserve entry point to the back of the dunes system will be open as normal. Normal reserve entry charges will apply once the hide re-opens.

Cley and Salthouse Marshes

All NWT car parks at NWT Cley and Salthouse Marshes are open as usual. The main central hides and the access route will remain closed because of a nesting marsh harrier. Bishops and Babcock hide will reopen, all other routes on the reserve remain open as usual. There are no one way systems in place but we request that visitors remain mindful of social distancing guidelines. There will currently be no reserve entry fee at Cley as this is so closely linked with the access routes and entry to the hides. 

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 will be open after 17 May with no further requirement to pre book. 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 now welcoming visitors to our centres once again.