Dead seal found dumped on pub doorstep - two days after storm surge hit north Norfolk
- Credit: Archant
While most communities escaped the worst of the weather, the tragic impact on local wildlife has begun to emerge as the flood water starts to drain away.
Communities along the coast were struggling to get life back to normal this week after being hit by one of the worst storm surges in recent times.
The villages of Cley and Salthouse were still partially cut-off this afternoon (Sunday) - two days after the deluge - as the main A149 Coast Road remained blocked in places by flood water and debris dumped by the sea.
However, it was at the county's oldest nature reserve, which sits between the two communities, where the impact was felt the most.
Cley Marshes, a bird breeding sanctuary managed by Norfolk Wildlife Trust, suffered what it described as 'severe flooding' during the assault by the sea - which led to the evacuation of homes and businesses across the area.
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While there was no sign of any damage to the visitor centre, the bottom car park remained under water and the special habitat which had become a sanctuary for wildlife had turned into an animal graveyard.
Birds, hares, mice and other creatures unable to escape the storm littered the site this weekend. And those that were left could be heard calling for food and lost friends.
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Some pathways were destroyed, others cut off.
And, this afternoon, a seal was found dead next to the Dun Cow pub in Salthouse, on the opposite side of the A149 to the sea and several hundreds metres from the beach - two days after the worst weather hit.
Daniel Goff, who runs the bar, said: 'It's not quite as bad as last time (storm surge of December 2013).
'As far as I'm aware, none of the houses here got flooded. Almost all the buildings on the other side of the green in 2013 were. We, fortunately, weren't then and certainly weren't this time.
'But, as far as I know, everybody was safe and nobody got wet.'
The reserve, which attracts thousands of visitors to north Norfolk throughout the year, is currently closed and the public is being advised to stay away until further notice.
Norfolk Wildlife Trust staff, who were able to look around the site today, say the final death toll is impossible to predict while much of the site remains under water.
However, it is hoped to reopen the visitor centre as soon as the Coast Road is cleared.
Brendan Joyce, CEO of NWT, said: 'Once we can regain access to the site, a clean-up operation will commence and we will be able to better assess the effects on wildlife and damage to fences, paths, hides and other infrastructure.
'We have been here before so we have an inkling of what to expect. Whilst there will be a lot to do to recover the site, I am confident that we will once again bounce back and have Cley and Salthouse in shape again soon for wildlife and visitors.'
Visitors are being asked to check the Trust's website www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk for further updates.