Cley-Next-The-Sea to Blakeney Sand Dunes and Back

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The North Norfolk coast, particularly between Salthouse and Blakeney, has some of the oldest and most scientifically important nature reserve areas in the UK. This walk starts and ends in Cley-next-the-sea (overlapping walks such as 8753) and first passes over the area of special scientific interest which is the Cley and Salthouse Marshes. Here you will find a diverse and wide range of wildflowers and birds in particular. Once you reach Cley Beach there is a pleasant, but comparatively tough, walk on the shingle until you reach Blakeney Sand=Dunes (National Trust). Along the way you pass more marshland (both saltwater and freshwater) which is home to a vast array of birdlife, especially seabirds such as the avocet. Around halfway between Cley and the end of the outward part of the walk you will find the 19th Century Coastgard Lookout Station, which since the 1920s, has been used by the Guides Association. Shortly before this the shingle starts to become host to a range of wild, important and sometimes rare plants. It is one of only a very few vegetated shingle banks in the UK. Once you reach Blakeney Sand-dunes there are further areas of flora and fauna of interest and importance. Boardwalks (maintained by the National Trust) and footpaths facilitate anything up to three miles of exploration and birdwatching on the dunes. (These miles are not included in the walk length, which is just 'there and back').
Blakeney Point is home to a vast seal population; however, you cannot expect to see many (or any) seals on this walk - to see them you need to go to Blakeney and take one of the seal-sighting boat trips from the quay.

The National Trust and the Coastguard can and do close off the dunes with no warning at all when weather conditions make them unsafe and you are therefore warned that the 'optional' exploration miles may not be possible when you visit.

The Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the RSPB and The National Trust also fence off large areas of the upper levels of the shingle when groundnesting birds (such as little terns and avocets) are breeding; and you must not encroach upon those areas when the fences are in place. Dogs are banned from the majority of the walk area between April and October to protect the wildlife.

Despite the comparatively chellenging terrain presented by the shingle, the walk is almost entirely flat, with a height gain of barely 1m on the entire route. If you consult the tide table and start your walk when the tide is more than halfway out and still retreating, you will be able to walk all the way out and back on the lower parts of Cley Beach, which offers a firmer surface comprising a sand and shingle mixture. In poor weather please do not undertake this walk unless you are experienced and competent in coastal walking, as the sea can be very dangerous in this area andthe beach is exceptionally steeply shelved: please don't be a victim of the strong tidal currents.

England - East England - Norfolk - Coast

Features

Birds, Butterflies, Flowers, Great Views, Lake/Loch, Mostly Flat, National Trust, Nature Trail, Public Transport, Sea, Wildlife

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