Cley next the Sea

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Coordinates: 52°57′04″N 1°02′35″E / 52.951°N 1.043°E / 52.951; 1.043

Cley next the Sea
Windmill Reed beds Cley.jpg
Cley next the Sea
Cley next the Sea is located in Norfolk
Cley next the Sea
Cley next the Sea
 Cley next the Sea shown within Norfolk
Area  8.63 km2 (3.33 sq mi)
Population 608 (parish, 2001 census)
    - Density  70 /km2 (180 /sq mi)
OS grid reference TG045436
    - London  129 miles (208 km) 
Civil parish Cley next the Sea
District North Norfolk
Shire county Norfolk
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town HOLT
Postcode district NR25
Dialling code 01263
Police Norfolk
Fire Norfolk
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament North Norfolk
List of places
UK
England
Norfolk

Cley next the Sea (/ˈkl/), Anglo-Saxon Clæg "clay", is a village (population 376)[1] on the River Glaven in Norfolk, England, 4 mi (6 km) north-west of Holt and east of Blakeney. The main A149 coast road runs through the centre of the village, causing congestion in the summer months due to the tight, narrow streets. It lies within the Norfolk Coast AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and the North Norfolk Heritage Coast.

The Grade I listed medieval church of St Margaret's, Cley is the largest church in the Blakeney Haven area. A ruined building on the marshes is known as Blakeney Chapel; despite its name, it is in Cley parish, and probably never had a religious purpose.

History[edit]

St Margaret's church
Cley Towermill stands at the edge of village, next to the coastal marshes and a network of drainage channels

Cley was once one of the busiest ports in England, where grain, malt, fish, spices, coal, cloth, barley and oats were exported or imported. The many Flemish gables in the town are a reminder of trade with the Low Countries. But despite its name, Cley has not been "next the sea" since the 17th century, due to land reclamation. Some of the buildings that once lined the quay remain, notably the 18th-century Cley Windmill. The windmill was owned by the family of singer James Blunt for many decades[2] and operated as a bed and breakfast. The mill was sold in 2006, but continues to operate as a bed and breakfast on a non-profit making basis. It was used as a backdrop of the 1949 film Conspirator with Elizabeth Taylor. Cley Mill has often been depicted by local artists and was the subject of a painting by the 20th century English landscape artist, Rowland Hilder.

After the silting up of the port, Cley had to find another industry; in the late 19th century, it became a holiday resort. The poet Rupert Brooke was staying in Cley with classics professor Francis Macdonald Cornford and his wife, the poet Frances Cornford, early in August 1914 when news came that Britain had entered what was to become the First World War. Brooke had dreamt about the war and woke to find it a reality. He did not speak to his hosts all day until Frances Cornford said, "But Rupert, you won't have to fight?" to which Brooke replied, "We shall all have to fight".[3]

Cley Old Hall was used as a location in the 1982 film The Ploughman's Lunch. In July 1997 the BBC filmed one of its BBC One balloon idents, which ran from 1997 to 2002, in the village.

BBC Balloon over Cley

Cley Marshes[edit]

See also Cley Marshes

The marshes around Cley are internationally important for their populations of rare breeding and visiting birds. Cley Marshes bird reserve has been in the care of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust since 1926, making it the oldest county Wildlife Trust reserve in Britain.[4] Among resident breeding birds are Avocet, Bearded Tit, Bittern, Marsh Harrier and Spoonbill. Winter visitors include Brent Geese, Wigeon, Pintail and many species of wading birds. Cley, like neighbouring Salthouse is ideally situated at the apex of the North Norfolk coast as a staging ground for passage migrants, vagrants and rareties of all kinds. A new eco-friendly visitor centre opened in 2007 containing a café, shop, viewing areas (including viewing from a camera on the reserve), exhibition area, interpretation and toilets. The view from the visitor centre across the Marsh to the sea is breathtaking. Cley Marshes is the home of the Bird Information Service, publishers of Birding World. The shingle bank holds large numbers of Yellow Horned Poppy.

Sea defences[edit]

The salt and fresh water marshes used to be very well protected. However the cost of replenishing the shingle spit grew too much for the village to sustain. Once the repairing stopped, it became easier for waves to get through; in 1953 a large storm, measured at 5.12 metres above ordnance datum (see North Sea flood of 1953) hit the North Norfolk coast and the shingle ridge was mostly destroyed. A further storm surge in 1978 measured 4.19 metres above ordnance datum and the protection measures confined flooding to the marshes and A149 coast road. The North Norfolk Shoreline Management Plan introduced by the Environment Agency has proposed a number of strategies in the light of continual erosion and predicted rising sea levels caused by global warming: these include Advance the line, Hold the line, Managed retreat and Do nothing. Even after extensive public consultation there is widespread local concern that the marshes will be lost to the North Sea.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Office for National Statistics & Norfolk County Council, 2001. "Census population and household counts for unparished urban areas and all parishes."
  2. ^ "Norfolk - Entertainment - James Blunt interview". BBC. 2005-05-18. Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  3. ^ Hollis, Matthew: Now All Roads Lead to France - The Last Years of Edward Thomas, Faber & Faber, London, 2011
  4. ^ "Cley Marshes". Norfolk Wildlife Trust. Retrieved 2013-03-26. 

External links[edit]