Salt marshes and dunes
The salt marshes and sand dunes of Wells attract a rich variety of bird life throughout the year (indeed a haven for birdwatchers), while seals like to congregate on the sand banks, which stretch out like an aged hand from Cley. Cley Marshes is Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s oldest and best known nature reserve. It was purchased in 1926 to be held 'in perpetuity as a bird breeding sanctuary'. It provided a blue print for nature conservation which has now been replicated across the UK. The water levels in the pools and reedbeds are regulated to ensure they are ideal for the resident birds, and reed is harvested every year to keep the reedbeds in good condition.
Shingle beach and saline lagoons
The shingle beach and saline lagoons, along with the grazing marsh and reedbed, support large numbers of wintering and migrating wildfowl and waders, as well as bittern, marsh harrier and bearded tit. A new eco-friendly visitor centre opened in 2007 containing a café, shop and viewing areas (including viewing from a camera on the reserve). The view from the visitor centre across the Marsh to the sea is breath-taking. The great news, especially for this sensitive environment, is that a bus called the CoastHopper has regular services along the coast. It shadows the Norfolk Coast Path National Trail all the way along from Hunstanton to Cromer (45m /72km in all).
It’s excellent value, with a Rover ticket for unlimited travel on the day of issue. As well as saving on parking and petro and sparing the environment, you can enjoy the views from the window all the way back to The Globe after a great day’s walking. You pass several Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserves and one run by the RSPB. For more info, visit: www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk