Next week sees the arrival of Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Cley Calling Festival taking place at NWT Cley Marshes wetland nature reserve. It runs from Thursday 15 September to Sunday 18 September. The festival’s theme this year is freshwater ecosystems.
Four days of events will celebrate Norfolk’s wet landscapes. It will explore some of the threats these wildlife habitats face and take a look at how conservationists are helping to recover and improve them.
The festival will be held at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education and Visitors’ Centre at NWT Cley Marshes nature reserve. The events will run from Thursday 15 September to Sunday 18 September, with an extended art exhibition from 7 September to 5 October.
Activities and family fun
Cley Calling: Our Watery World features art, writing, crafts and photography. It is also a chance to enjoy family fun inspired by the natural world and the clean freshwater we all rely upon. Included are illustrated talks, guided walks and discovery events such as pond dipping.
Highlights of the programme are as follows:
Thursday: During its opening evening, NWT ambassador, Nick Acheson, will be in conversation with naturalist and author Amy-Jane Beer. They will be discussing the nature of rivers, her adventures and personal connections with them.
Friday: NWT have organised a walk through the North Norfolk coastal landscape with local author and naturalist, David North. During the evening, RSPB Haweswater site manager Lee Schofield, will talk about his book Wild Fell. It gives a personal account of a decade of work to breathe life back into 3,000 hectares of moorland, mountain, meadow and stream in the Lake District National Park.
The ‘Big Beach Clean-Up’
Saturday: Budding wordsmiths are invited to join poet James McDermott for a day workshop. It explores ‘Feeling Unnatural in Nature’. Participants will learn tools and techniques to re-see the natural world through the written word and explore how the natural world is for everybody to enjoy. Also on Saturday, there will be a chance to take part in NWT’s ‘Big Beach Clean Up’ . Participants will discover Fantastic Mini-beasts during pond-dipping adventures along the reserve’s dykes and around its pools and ponds.
Freshwater is vital for many of Norfolk’s habitats. Clare Whitelegg, NWT’s Cley Engagement Officer says it’s “increasingly burdened by multiple threats. These include pollution, climate change and water abstraction.” She adds: “Many of the species that rely on freshwater habitats are often the most threatened.”
Sunday: Cley Calling concludes with artist Alice Lee leading a workshop. The crafty event will suit all ages and skill levels. Alice will be helping participants colour her bird designs and make their own bird mobile to take home.
Free art exhibition
Throughout the festival there is also an opportunity to view a free art exhibition. It explores the threat of climate change in relation to the birds found at Cley. From 7 September – 5 October works by painter and textile artist Celia Ward are on display. On the Thursday afternoon of Cley Calling Festival, Celia will be conducting an illustrated talk. She’ll be examining the methods contemporary artists use to explain climate change.
The intention at this year’s Cley Calling is to focus on the beauty and importance of wetland habitats. Norfolk Wildlife Trust is the first and oldest of the Wildlife Trusts, established in 1926 with the acquisition of Cley Marshes on the North Norfolk coast.
The festival will take place at the NWT Cley Marshes Visitor Centre, NR25 7SA. For the full festival programme and to book tickets at various prices, visit: www.cleycalling.com