Helicopter crash - the marsh area where it went down

The Cley and Salthouse marshes seen from the air after last month's floods. Photo: Mike Page

The Cley and Salthouse marshes seen from the air after last month's floods. Photo: Mike Page - Credit: Mike Page

Cley and Salthouse marshes are world-renowned as a nature haven teaming with wildlife, especially birds.

Migrant waders flock to an area which is boasts more than 200 species of birds.

It is also a Mecca for birders who enjoy spotting the resident and visiting birds at the coastal wilderness all year round.

The area is a mixture of marsh, lagoons, reedbeds and footpaths.

A fragile shingle bank separates the marshes from the North Sea, whose raw power has recently punched holes in the natural sea wall, swamping the area with salty water.

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When the sea regularly overtops a gridiron of man-made ditches, set among the natural delights, aim to provide a plughole to wash out the nature haven and restore its freshwater pools.

The area is know for avocets, godwits, little and common terns, bitterns, marsh harriers and snow buntings.

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Winter birders also see pink-footed geese, from Greenland and Iceland and migrate towards north-west Europe, and brent geese from America.

The area is run by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

Cley was its, and the nation's, first ever nature reserve, bought by a dozen founders for £5,100 in 1926.

A major appeal recently reached its target to enable a missing link piece of land between Cley and Salthouse to be bought to connect the two havens and provide a new education centre in a £2.6m scheme.

Salthouse is also known for Cookie's Crabshop restaurant and nearby Dun Cow Pub, while nearby Cley has a smattering of quality shops including a delicatessen and art gallery.

The area is not known for breaking news stories, except for when the sea breaks through its sea defences.

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