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Sir David Attenborough names north Norfolk marshes UK’s best wildlife spot

PUBLISHED: 07:35 09 January 2018 | UPDATED: 08:27 09 January 2018

A view across to Cley Mill in the early morning sunlight, Picture: Elizabeth Dack

A view across to Cley Mill in the early morning sunlight, Picture: Elizabeth Dack

Norfolk Wildlife Trust

It must be the ultimate endorsement.

Sir David Attenborough visiting Cley Marshes Visitors Centre in 2015 to open the Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre. Picture: ANTONY KELLYSir David Attenborough visiting Cley Marshes Visitors Centre in 2015 to open the Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

For if Cley Marshes nature reserve’s bosses were brainstorming the best names to back them, Sir David Attenborough would surely be at the top (and probably second and third, too).

Now He has done just that, naming the north Norfolk beauty spot as one of the great places to see wildlife in Britain.

Sir David Attenborough at the Aspinall Centre, Cley Marshes in June 2015. Picture: Andi SapeySir David Attenborough at the Aspinall Centre, Cley Marshes in June 2015. Picture: Andi Sapey

In an article written for a national newspaper in which he revealed his five favourite spots for wildlife lovers in the country, Sir David also praised Norfolk Wildlife Trust for its management of Cley Marshes.

“It is one of the great places in Britain to see wildlife,” he wrote in the Telegraph. “The Norfolk Wildlife Trust was the first in this country, founded in 1926 – the year I was born.

Sir David Attenborough visiting Cley Marshes Visitors Centre in 2015 to open the Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre. Picture: ANTONY KELLYSir David Attenborough visiting Cley Marshes Visitors Centre in 2015 to open the Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“Twelve friends produced the money to protect this coast, at a time when natural history was regarded as something slightly odd. Today, these trusts are a national movement, and it’s heartening to know that there’s not a square yard of this country that doesn’t have a trust caring for it to some degree.”

Sir David, however, cautioned that the coastal reserve would increasingly come under pressure from issues such as climate change.

Early morning at Cley marshes. Picture: Brad DammsEarly morning at Cley marshes. Picture: Brad Damms

“As the world warms, there will be extreme things happening to this coast, and we need people who understand it and will look after it – not just for ourselves, but for the wonderful creatures that live on it.”

Chief executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust Brendan Joyce said: “We are delighted Sir David loves Cley Marshes and this was apparent when he came to open our Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre in 2015.

A greylag goose at Cley Marshes. Picture: David ThackerA greylag goose at Cley Marshes. Picture: David Thacker

“We are already witnessing the effects of climate change at Cley and have seen an increase in the frequency of sea floods and changes in the habitats.

“It is vital we protect and manage these special places as best we can and that we raise awareness of the fragility and needs of wildlife. Many species are under threat as a result of climate change and need our help if they are to survive.”

Chinese water deer at Cley Marshes. Picture: David ThackerChinese water deer at Cley Marshes. Picture: David Thacker

Cley Marshes is the trust’s oldest and best known nature reserve. It supports large numbers of wintering and migrating wildfowl and waders, plus bittern, marsh harrier and bearded tit.

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