Cley-next-the-Sea, a well kept secret is an exceptionally picturesque village on the North Norfolk coast, situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the coast road. Cley (pronounced ‘Cly’ like eye) nestles on the edge of salt marshes in between Blakeney and Salthouse. 3 miles inland is the charming town of Holt.
Well known for its Windmill and its magnificent church, Cley is also home to the NWT Cley Marshes Nature Reserve, internationally reputed as a premier birdwatching site. Along with its Art Galleries, specialist food shops and welcoming hostelries, Cley has much to offer.
Cley has a fine and well established Smoke House, Deli and bakery as well as pubs and cafes and offers many fine walks. The notorious Norfolk Coastal Path can be followed through Cley until it joins the ancient Peddars Way National Trail.
Cley was originally a lot more ‘next the sea’ than it is now – in the Middle Ages it was a thriving trading port and the harbour was in front of St Margaret’s Church – hard to imagine when you visit the area today. Sadly the village was struck by the plague and a misguided landowner who attempted land reclamation which caused the river to gradually silt up, both of which contributed to a decline in the population and wealth of the village. Some lovely pictures of old Cley can be seen in St Margaret’s Church.
The village now thrives from tourism primarily drawn in by the diverse beaches, huge skies, walks, sailing and varied wildlife. Cley is a place of peace and tranquility and offers a warm welcome to anyone who wants to come and enjoy the area.
There is parking at Cley beach or you can take an easy and beautiful 20 to 30 minute walk to the beach gently down hill from Barn Drift, across private fields and along raised marsh pathways.