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Sir David Attenborough endorsed nature reserve completes five year project

The pond dipping platform at Cley Marshes. Picture: Norfolk Wildlife Trust

The pond dipping platform at Cley Marshes. Picture: Norfolk Wildlife Trust

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Sir David Attenborough called it one of the best places to see wildlife in the world.

David Attenborough said Cley Marshes was one of the most importance places for wildlife in the world. Picture: Andi SapeyDavid Attenborough said Cley Marshes was one of the most importance places for wildlife in the world. Picture: Andi Sapey

Now, the Cley to Salthouse Project has been completed after five years of work.

The Norfolk Wildlife Trust project sort to reconnect Cley Marshes, Cley next the Sea, and the Salthouse Marshes, buying 58 hectares of land creating pools with shallow water as refuges and feeding habitats for wetland species.

After a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund the project could go ahead.

Head of development Nik Khandpur said: “Reconnecting Cley and Salthouse Marshes was something that we never thought we’d be able to do because the land in-between was private ownership.

The Lookout at Cley Marshes. Picture: Richard OsbourneThe Lookout at Cley Marshes. Picture: Richard Osbourne

“New habitat areas have been created for species such as wintering Brent Geese and Harrier roosts as well as Spoonbill in the summer.

“The species trends we consider are international and long term so the vital thing for us is that this project has given threatened wildlife additional habitat to help them thrive and survive.”

By 2018 the trust had set-up an education and engagement programme to reach a wider audience about the importance of preserving the marshes. As a result more than 200 events were held at the marshes featuring writing, visual art, photography, music and theatre.

A dipping pond platform has been created as well as two new viewing points; Babcock Hide and Richardon’s Look Out.

Ms Khandpur added: “To expand and develop the visitor and have a dedicated education and engagement centre was something we new we wanted to do by this project allowed it to happen.

“One of the important things for us is that people look upon the changes favourably, there’s more to do and ways to engage with nature. Also it is more accessible with Attenborough’s walk which was opened by Sir David in 2015.

“When Sir David Attenborough visited we knew just how special Norfolk and Cley are to him. He definitely enjoyed the day bird watching before anyone else arrived at the new pools and he had that chance to see the work done.

“For us it is a great honour that he feels that it is a very important point for wildlife not just in the UK but globally.”

In the past year more than 110,000 people visited the Marshes.

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