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Picture-postcard village unveils extra boat mooring space

PUBLISHED: 10:16 26 August 2020 | UPDATED: 10:16 26 August 2020

The socially distanced working party at Cley Harbour quay. Pictured are, from left, Simon Lee, Gerald Peploe, David Ford, Simon Read, Andy Gonzales and Shelagh Gonzales. Picture: Cley Harbour

The socially distanced working party at Cley Harbour quay. Pictured are, from left, Simon Lee, Gerald Peploe, David Ford, Simon Read, Andy Gonzales and Shelagh Gonzales. Picture: Cley Harbour

Cley Harbour

More modern-day seafarers can now park their vessels in one of north Norfolk’s most scenic villages following the latest phase of an ongoing restoration project.

An old photo of Cley Harbour. Picture: Colin FinchAn old photo of Cley Harbour. Picture: Colin Finch

An extra 55 metres of mooring space for boats has been created on the River Glaven at Cley-next-the-Sea - two years after a permit was originally applied for.

Simon Read, Cley Harbour chairman, said he was delighted this latest chapter in the Cley Old Harbour Restoration Project meant more people could now access the village by sea.

Mr Read said: “It is fantastic to be able to finish the latest stage in the restoration of the harbour and quay in Cley.

“In the last four years, Cley has become a popular destination for visitors by boat from Blakeney and Morston - so much so that we were beginning to run out of room for visitors to moor up.

Cley Harbour showing the new mooring at high tide. Picture: Simon ReadCley Harbour showing the new mooring at high tide. Picture: Simon Read

“The extra mooring space means our visitors can now come ashore and visit the wonderful shops, galleries, café and pubs we have in Cley.”

The works mark a further return to form for the spot which has a long tradition as a safe harbour.

But Cley’s early seafaring days were not so peaceful - in 1317 the harbour was reported to have been “in the grip of organised gangs of pirates”.

In the 15th and 16th centuries Cley became a thriving port welcoming traders from the Low Countries - a link still reflected today in the Flemish gables seen on buildings around the village.

An old photo of Cley Harbour. Picture: Colin FinchAn old photo of Cley Harbour. Picture: Colin Finch

But the river started to silt up in the 1600s, and the customs house closed in 1853.

The restoration project has been led by volunteers from the Cley Harbour committee as well as Cley Parish Council.

Mr Read said the goal was the restoration and maintenance of the quay and harbour - set in the shadow of Cley Windmill.

He said the works meant the harbour was once again navigable for boats up to 30 feet.

Cley Harbour in Feb 2016, before the improvement works. Picture: Cley HarbourCley Harbour in Feb 2016, before the improvement works. Picture: Cley Harbour

Mel Kemp, also from the Cley Harbour group, said: “It’s fantastic - people can come in by boat, spend money in the village and have a nice time, and then go off again. It makes the village a lot more accessible by boat.”

The works were funded by donations and fundraising events, including Cley Harbour Day and Carols on the Quay.

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