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Norfolk Broads and Cley Marshes nominated for prestigious wildlife awards

PUBLISHED: 11:32 30 December 2015 | UPDATED: 11:32 30 December 2015

The Norfolk Broads has been nominated in the National Park of the Year category.

The Norfolk Broads has been nominated in the National Park of the Year category.

ruth@tyrrell

Two of north Norfolk and Broadland’s wilderness treasures have been nominated for prestigious awards.

Norfolk Wildlife Trust is looking for someone to manage Cley and Salthouse Marshes Norfolk Wildlife Trust is looking for someone to manage Cley and Salthouse Marshes

Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s (NWT) Cley Marshes has been put forward for Nature Reserve of the Year in BBC Countryfile Magazine’s Awards.

And The Norfolk Broads has been nominated by BBC presenter Ellie Harrison in the National Park of the Year category.

Cley marshes was nominated by EDP columnist and renowned nature writer Simon Barnes, who said: “Cley has always been good, but it just got a great deal better.

“Purchased in 1926 to be held as a bird-breeding sanctuary, it acquired a vast new area of wetland this year and it’s jumping with wildlife. You can see spoonbills from the café, or penetrate the reeds for more challenging stuff.”

Brendan Joyce, NWT chief executive, said he was thrilled with the nomination as the trust prepared to begin celebrations for its 90th anniversary in 2016.

“Cley Marshes is where The Wildlife Trusts movement began in 1926, when a group of 12 friends, led by Dr Sydney Long, had a vision of a county trust to purchase and protect this precious site and others like it. It provided a blueprint for nature conservation which has been replicated across the UK.

“Now 90 years later it is the most popular of Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves, attracting 110,000 birders and visitors a year from all around the world.

“The water levels in the pools and reed beds are regulated to ensure they are ideal for the resident birds, and reed is harvested every year to keep the reed beds in good condition.

“The shingle beach and saline lagoons, along with the grazing marsh and reed bed support large numbers of wintering and migrating wildfowl and waders, as well as bittern, marsh harrier and bearded tit.”

The Cley Marshes Visitor Centre was opened in 2007, and soon extra space was needed on site for wildlife education and to tell the story of the evolving landscape and its wildlife. This year the Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre was opened by Sir David Attenborough and NWT ambassador Ben Garrod.

To whittle down contenders, BBC Countryfile Magazine asked experts in each field to draw up a shortlist of nominees for each category.

Ellie Harrison said of the Norfolk Broads: “Wetlands will surprise you. The established Broads offers haven for marsh harriers, bitterns and swallowtails (Britain’s biggest butterfly) among many others. The land also delivers long views between the horizons, interrupted by gems of working heritage.”

■ To vote, visit www.countryfile.com/awards2015-16 or send a postal vote to BBC Countryfile Magazine, Tower House, Bristol, BS1 3BN.

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