Blakeney Point

Blakeney Point is a national nature reserve on the north coast of Norfolk, England. Its main feature is a 6.4 km spit of shingle and sand dunes, but the reserve also includes salt marshes, tidal mudflats and reclaimed farmland. The reserve is important for breeding birds, especially terns, and its location makes it a major site for migrating birds in autumn.

About Blakeney Point in brief

Summary Blakeney PointBlakeney Point is a national nature reserve on the north coast of Norfolk, England. Its main feature is a 6. 4 km spit of shingle and sand dunes, but the reserve also includes salt marshes, tidal mudflats and reclaimed farmland. The reserve is important for breeding birds, especially terns, and its location makes it a major site for migrating birds in autumn. Up to 500 seals may gather at the end of the spit, and the sand and shingle hold a number of specialised invertebrates and plants. The area has a long history of human occupation; ruins of a medieval monastery and “Blakeny Chapel” are buried in the marshes. The Point has been studied for more than a century, following pioneering ecological studies by botanist Francis Wall Oliver and a bird ringing programme initiated by ornithologist Emma Turner. The spit is a dynamic structure, gradually moving towards the coast and extending to the west. Land is lost to the sea as the spit rolls forward. Norfolk Coast Path, an ancient long distance footpath, cuts across the south eastern corner of the reserve along the sea wall between the farmland and the salt marsches, and further west at Holme-next-the-Sea the trail joins Peddars Way. The tip of Blakeney point can be reached by walking up the shingle spit from the car park at Cley Beach, or by boats from Morston. The National Trust has an information centre and tea room at the quay, and a visitor centre on the Point was formerly a lifeboat station.

The Halfway House, a building 2 km from Cley beach, is a building built in the 19th century as a look-out for smugglers, it was used as a holiday guard by the Girl Guides, and as a succession of modern holiday let stations. Both people and modern archaeological finds date back to the Palaeolithic, and have produced many significant archaeological and modern finds of Neanderthal and modern human remains. It has been estimated that there are 2. 3 million m3 of flint, 97 per cent of which is derived from flint. The River Glaven can become blocked by the advancing shingle, and cause flooding of Cley village, Cley Marshes nature reserve and the environmentally important reclaimed grazing pastures, so the river has to be realigned every few decades. The Point was formed by longshore drift and this movement continues westward; the spit lengthened by 132. 1 m between 1886 and 1925. It is approximately 6.4 km long, and is composed of a shingle bank which in places is 20 m in width and up to 10 m high. The main spit runs roughly west to east, and joins the mainland at Cly Beach before continuing onwards as a coastal ridge to Weybourne. There is an area of reclaimed farmland, known as Blakeny Freshes, to thewest of Cleys Beach Road. The Reserve is part of both an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a World Biosphere Reserve.