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A lovely North Norfolk Coast village, famous for its windmill and nature reserve


Parish Church
Nature Reserve
These days Cley next the Sea is nearly a mile from open water, but back in the middle ages this lovely Norfolk village was an important trading port. Cley does have a beach, which is mainly shingle and is accessed by walking over the marshes. The area between the village and the sea is now occupied by Cley Marshes, one of the best nature reserves for bird watching in the UK. A patchwork of reedbeds, freshwater pools, dykes, grazing marshes and saline lagoons provide a habitat to attract a wide variety of birds to feed, breed and rest. You may see avocet, bearded tit and extremely rare bittern. The brand new environmentally friendly visitor centre incorporates an observation area, a café, and sales area.

The view over Cley Nature Reserve

The modern visitor centre
Between the main street and the marshes is the most famous landmark of Cley, the 18th century windmill. The best known of miller was Steven Barnabas Burroughs, whose family worked and owned the Mill from 1840 to 1919, after which it fell into disrepair. In 1921 it was bought by Sarah Maria Wilson and converted into a holiday home. The conversion involved removing most of the working parts and fixing the cap and sails. The old stones, used for grinding the flour, were set into the ground nearby and the warehouses were converted into stables and boat sheds. The sails, fanstage and galleries were last replaced in 1988. The windmill is now a bed and breakfast and the owners usually allow visitors to take a look inside and climb to the top for superb views of the surrounding countryside.

Cley Mill

Inside Cley Mill
In the centre of the village of Cley you will find a brilliant delicatessen where you can purchase your picnic, a local craft gallery, a famous smoke house, a bookshop, a couple of tea shops and a country pub. Be careful though, the main A149 coast road passes right through the heart of the village and the road is a little narrow in places.

The centre of Cley next the Sea

Flemish architecture which came to Norfolk in the middle ages when strong trade links were developed with Dutch weavers

Traditional flint cottages in Cley

Shops in the centre of Cley, including Made in Cley, a gallery offering pottery, sculpture, jewelry and prints

Cley Picnic Fayre, a delicatessen located in an old forge
The wonderful parish church of St. Margaret of Antioch, dating back to the 13th century, dominates the top end of the village; it seems at times almost too cathedral like for the small village. Inside, the church is vast and contains many interesting features including a seven sacrament font, bench ends depicting people and mythical creatures, brasses and old stained glass.

Cley Parish Church

Inside Cley Church

Tombstones in Love - Perhaps "till death us do part" is not completely true for this husband and wife, who died during the 1880's!

Cley Coast Path Walk

Take the Norfolk Coast Path from Cley to Blakeney (2 ¾ miles). If you don't fancy walking both ways, you could get the bus back!
Visitor Information
Car-parking can be found at the village hall (free), which can be found by taking the road into the village and then first left (the village hall is straight ahead).

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