Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s oldest and best known reserve. Shingle beach and saline lagoons, grazing marsh and reed beds that support large numbers of wintering and migrating species along with resident species including the iconic bittern, marsh harrier and bearded tit.
With a wide range of flora and fauna, accessible paths and hides providing more than simply birdwatching and whether walking along boardwalks or sitting on the benches among the whispering reeds savouring the diversity of sight and sound that nature offers throughout the season.
View up close the everyday birds and insects from boardwalks and hides, sit in the visitor centre café with a drink and cake enjoying the panoramic views across the marshes, attend one of the many exhibitions and events.
Length of walk: Half a mile to hides; about a mile for East Bank walk
Location: A149 coast road east of Cley village and 7 miles west of Sheringham
Map Ref: TG 054440 Postcode: NR25 7SA
Getting there: Signed on A149 coast road by public transport: Coasthopper bus stop at entrance; nearest rail station Sheringham
By cycling or walking: Norfolk Coast Cycleway about one mile; Norfolk Coast Path along north edge of the reserve. Off road footpath from Cley village.
Site owned/managed by Norfolk Wildlife Trust, tel. 01263 740008.
Information boards in and around visitor centre including interactive and reserve camera, further information around reserve and in hides. Staff and volunteers on site during visitor centre opening times.
ACCESSIBILITY AND FAMILY PROVISION
Toilets: Disabled accessible
Hire equipment available to borrow: No wheelchairs.
Wheelchair access: Car parking adjacent to and on level with entrance, lift to visitor area. All facilities on same level and accessible. Additional disabled parking at East Bank car park ideal for fully accessible path to beach overlooking marshe. Boardwalks to and access into main hides accessible for wheelchairs and buggies.
Induction loops: Unknown
For families: Young people explorer pack, remote-controlled wildlife camera and audio-visual presentations about the changing coastline. Exhibition area and education facilities. Audio trail.
Dogs: No dogs allowed on the reserve. Visitors with dogs can walk Beach Road, along shingle bank
(Northern reserve boundary) and East bank (where you can see some areas of the reserve).
NWT Cley and National Trust Blakeney have produced a leaflet about where dogs can go.
Access for all route
Start & Finish: Visitor centre car park
Distance(s): About a mile to hide and back*
Accessibility: Wheelchair and buggy suitable path, boardwalk and hides
Gradients: Slight between visitor centre to start of boardwalk
Stiles & Gates: Swing gate onto reserve boardwalk
Surface: Compressed stone car park to A149 crossing then timber boardwalk to hides. Small lip
Waymarking: Easy to follow
Seating: Benches along boardwalks inside and outside of reserve
Specific hazards: Crossing the main A149 coast road between visitor centre and reserve. No physical barrier could result in straying straight onto road.
Footwear/clothing: Sensible shoes for boardwalks and paths, clothing to suit prevailing weather as site is close to the sea.
*NOTE: East Bank accessible path means there are further accessible opportunities to explore
Parking: Free parking at visitor centre; charges at Beach Road car park for non-NWT members
Cley Marsh Reserve: Open dawn to dusk all year, entrance fee for non-NWT members – £5.50 with Gift Aid, £5 without (2021)
Visitor Centre, Shop and café: Open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas day
Toilets: Modern environmentally friendly located at visitor centre, none on reserve or beach