It has been nearly four months since we closed our five centres and bird watching hides around the county to help fight the spread of coronavirus in Norfolk. As the situation and Government guidance progresses, we have been working hard to put new procedures and safety measures in place to enable some of our centres to reopen, albeit with some restrictions.
Our visitor centres will closely follow Government covid guidance. 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 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 the lockdown and for following the North Norfolk Coast’s ‘enjoy, respect, protect’ plea. will continue to review the situation in light of any Government updates.
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
- Centres will be open currently only be open from 10am – 4pm everyday. The takeaway menu service in the cafes will run all day for the same time period. Seated café users must place orders 30 minutes prior to the centre closing.
- All NWT car parks are now fully open at Hickling Broad, Holme Dunes and Cley and Salthouse Marshes. We will resume charging for parking at Holme Dunes from 13 July and at NWT Cley Beach car park from 18 July. 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. At NWT Cley Marshes the toilet provision will currently be enhanced by portable toilets placed in the upper car park.
- External seating will be available for visitors and limited internal seating for café users.
- 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 in October. We will shortly be posting a programme for Cley for the October to December 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 have a new range of digital events which began with an in discussion event with Patrick Barkham and NWT’s Nick Acheson and they will continue over the autumn. 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.
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. The boat trail at Hickling is now running, please refer to the boats page of the website for further details. (We will keep you informed with future updates). Normal reserve entry charges will apply.
All NWT car parks at NWT Holme Dunes will be open from 13 July as usual and the reserve will be open. The first hide and the access route to this is now open, all other hides currently remain closed. The reserve entry point to the back of the dunes system will be open. Normal reserve entry charges will apply.
Cley and Salthouse Marshes
All NWT car parks at NWT Cley and Salthouse Marshes are open as usual. Access to the reserve will be restricted currently with only Bishops and Babcock hides open. All other paths 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.
We look forward to now welcoming visitors to our centres once again.