Cley Old Harbour Project could see boats sail into the village’s once-thriving ancient port

It was once one of the busiest ports in Europe, a haven for smugglers and pirates and the hub for a thriving trade which saw its grain exports outstrip even those of Norwich.

But Cley harbour is today all but unrecognisable from its heyday, little more than a shallow, silted up inlet, choked with reeds and unnavigable to all but the smallest of craft.

Now, though, there is hope that this ancient port could once again be revived, with planning permission approved for villagers to dredge the channel, to allow sailing boats to travel along the River Glaven and into the harbour once more.

Photo by Mark Bullimore

Photo by Mark Bullimore

Cley Parish Council still need funding for the £20,000 Old Harbour Project, but villagers have organised working parties to clear the banks and make a start on the work.

Leading the working party group is Simon Read, 56, a boat builder, who said: “Cley is only here because of the harbour, but now people don’t even realise it is here.

“For the last 100 years the village has almost forgotten the harbour but, hopefully, shortly this will be turned around and the port will once again be an important part of Cley.

“We want to level the reeds on both sides of the river to allow boats to pass at high tide.”

The River Glaven flows through Cley and runs out to the sea past Blakeney Point. Historically it would go out to sea directly north of Cley, but it has been gradually been pushed west.

Parish council chairman Richard Kelham said the harbour’s use had fallen away completely in the past 10 years, but that 100 years ago the harbour would have looked completely different.

“Our seafaring history is so rich,” said Mr Kelham. “This was a busy port that even had its own customs house.”

Planning permission for the project to dredge a 387-foot stretch of the river has been approved by North Norfolk District Council in January last year.

At high tide, the river would be widened from less than seven feet to more than 26 feet, allowing boats of up to 16 feet space to navigate.

But so far villagers have been unsuccessful in finding funding for the project.

However if enough people join the working parties, boats should be able to use the harbour by the summer.

The working parties are on February 28 and March 1 weather permitting.

Taken from EDP24 (Click here for original)

Cley Windmill oak remnants (from the old sails)

Engraved Wooden Gifts of Cley Windmill

Written by Ben & Davina : Posted on August 9, 2014 : No Comments
Cley Windmill is a Grade II listed Windmill which dates back to the early 18th Century and is a well-known landmark on the north Norfolk coast.

It commands breathtaking views over the salt marshes to Blakeney Point and the sea, while nestling comfortably by the old quay, and alongside the flint-walled cottages of the village. The windmill itself has been converted into a guesthouse of immense character, charm and comfort.

The old stables and boathouses are now stylish bedrooms with Dovecote a self catering retreat for independent holidaymakers. The windmill featured in MGM’s 1949 film ‘Conspirator’ with Elizabeth Taylor and was the scene of various intrigues in the televised Ruth Rendell Mysteries.

It featured extensively in David Bellamy’s television series and was used for several years, with the sails apparently turning, as the BBC1 continuity link.

Engraved Wooden Gifts of Cley Windmill from

Where do we fit into the picture? – Well, some months ago, we had a telephone call from the owner who said that the —sail— was being replaced and he wanted to do something with the —100— year old oak rather than just simple setting fire to it.

He had seen our products and asked if we could do something with the oak. A deal was done and a few weeks later the gentleman arrived with a trailer full to bursting with huge beams of oak.

As you can probably imagine, they weren’t crisp, clean beams, they had many years build-up of white paint, huge metal bolts and nails coming out of everywhere and were riddle with rot and years upon years of where-and-tere.
…Quite a challenge then!

Some head scratching, a purchase of a good metal detector, a chainsaw and several pairs of pliers, we set about de-nailing the beams, removing the paint and cutting them into manageable pieces.
You,d be amazed, once we had stripped away the top layer, the oak beneath was stunning, and once planed and sanded it looked as if it was brand new, fresh from the saw mill. Avoiding, the large holes where bolts and rot had been, we cut the timber into what we thought would work best. Interestingly – the timber was dictating the products, rather then the other way around…

Engraved oak tree swing:

Engraved Wooden Gifts from
Engraved Wooden Gifts from

Engraved oak serving board:

Engraved Wooden Gifts from

Engraved oak tea light holders:

Engraved Wooden Gifts from

Engraved oak key or change bowls:

Engraved Wooden Gifts from

Engraved oak chopping boards:

Engraved Wooden Gifts from

Beautiful, personalised wooden gifts, manufactured from the sails of Cley Windmill. A true Limited edition collection made from a true English heritage. This is a one off opportunity to own a true piece of English Heritage crafted into a practical, durable and truly beautiful engraved wooden gifts. Once these are gone – they are gone – there is no more.

Engraved Wooden Gifts from

If you like the look of these engraved wooden gifts, visit

For enquiries on products, give us a call on:
01252 703 196
or you can email us at:

Best Norfolk Wedding Venue – Wonderful images

Thanks to  Chris Taylor

What a delight to see these pictures posted on his blog by local Norfolk photographer Chris Taylor.
He has really captured the joy and intimacy of a small Cley Windmill wedding.
Many thanks Chris.

See Chris Taylor's wonderful photo blog here:

What a delight to see these pictures posted on his blog by local Norfolk photographer Chris Taylor.

He has really captured the joy and intimacy of a small Cley Windmill wedding.

Many thanks Chris.

See Chris Taylor's wonderful photo blog here:

Chris Taylor Photography

Starlings over Cley Windmill

A must watch !

A big Thank You to Ray Cordell for this inspiring youtube posting of starlings over the windmill.
They DO seem to love the sails as a landing point.

Cley Windmill – Still here ‘out of season’

Cley Windmill - come and have an old-fashioned country-house party.

We had eighty-six requests to book our windmill weekend between Christmas and new Year, and we are sorry that only one party was able to take advantage of that opportunity.

I write to say that Cley Windmill is very much still here over the winter months. There are some significant advantages to visiting us in the quieter months ahead (not least 10% off between now and February).

This is possibly an ideal time to plan your own house party, taking over the whole windmill and having the whole building to yourself and up to 19 friends, just as we have done on many memorable and happy occasions - its a great way to get together with close friends or family,  in the style of an old fashioned country-house party. Simon & Sarah would be happy to find a slot in our winter callender when we can accommodate your own house party.
You can always pass this email on to a friend so that they can play host, and you can attend as their guest!

(Alternatively, just book a single room and enjoy our acclaimed Cley Windmill 'welcome' as a normal B&B guest.
Either way - we'd love to see you ! Please check our availability:  AVAILABILITY

Host your own house party over Xmas or New YearHost your very own house party over Christmas or New Year, and take the entire windmill as your own.
We have had a cancellation and thus you have an opportunity to take the entire windmill as your own, over Christmas or New Year.
22nd December for 5 nights  - sleeps 20. (£3000 - this works out at £30 per night per person!)
Over New Year 27th December for 7nights  - sleeps 20 (£4000 - this works out at £28.50 per night per person)
We only provide this service twice each year, since we normally operate as a B&B/Guest House/ Boutique Hotel (whichever you prefer!)
However, over these two periods, you and up to 20 friends or family can live in Cley Windmill as if it were your own.
You have full run of the whole windmill, with full access to the spacious and characterful kitchen, and can prepare your own meals as well as Christmas or New Years celebrations.
We have had wonderful feedback from those who have booked in previous years. (see picture for a previous happy house party)
Please ring Simon or Sarah on 01263 740209 if this sounds good to you.
or email

Do feel free to pass this email on to a friend so that they can host you, and you can be their guest! Forward  to a friend


Cley Windmill is to become a star of Childrens’ television

James Bolam to star at Cley Windmill in new series of 'Grandpa in my Pocket'We are thrilled to announce that one of the country's favourite actors, James Bolam, is to star in the fourth series of Grandpa in My Pocket.

For those of you who don't know this very popular programme, it features Grandpa (James Bolam) who posesses a magic flat cap -  when he puts it on he shrinks, and in his teeny form, he gets up to all sorts of mischief. (Older readers may be reminded of Mrs Pepperpot.....).  The series has run on CBeebies for over four years, and now,  a new fourth series has been commissioned. In this series Mrs Grandpa (OK - I guess that will be Grandma !) wants to upgrade from her present lovely house in Aldeburgh and has asked if she could move to a windmill. I was delighted to accept the offer from the TV company, which will now ensure all sorts of excitements and adventures will come from our very own windmill. The film crew have visited many times,  and have taken lots of photos, and taken detailed measurements of the windmill. They have now created a dedicated film set in Wales, a reconstruction based on the first three floors of the tower. Much of the action will take place inside this mocked-up version of the windmill which the directors have re-christened 'The Mill-on-the-Marsh'.

Jeremy Bolam to star at Cley Windmill in hit children's TV series 'Grandpa in my pocket'Apparently the house where Grandma currently resides has become quite a Mecca for young viewers, as have other buildings that feature in the plots. The imaginary village called Sunnysands is actually Aldeburgh in Suffolk (which will now have a Norfolk windmill attached to its western suburb!) We are expecting Cley to have many more youthful visitors in the years ahead. To date, Grandpa in My Pocket has been sold to more than 104 territories worldwide and is one of the highest rated shows on CBeebies.

James Bolam says: “Grandpa In My Pocket is such a great idea – first class scripts, original and funny, and the kids love it. I’m really looking forward to another series. In a word – magic!”

The first episodes are due to start screening in February 2014 - what fun!

Here's a trailer to whet your appetite  

The first Hedgehog at Cley Windmill?

I suspect this is a first.....

Harvey the hedgehog during his stay at Cley Windmill

We were delighted to welcome our most unsual guest to date to the windmill.

A hedgehog stayed in the Wheat Chamber at the windmill - this cute white pigmy hedgehog  - he had the wonderful name of Harvey Harvester Wetnose PoopeyPaws.

Harvey certainly had all the gear with a massive cage/ enclosure and a huge hedgehog wheel for exercise. He took a big chunk out of my jacket, and did a lot of snuffling and sneezing - perhaps we can get Harvey to appear in our forthcoming TV series  (of which more later)

Harvey the hedgehog in the Wheat Chamber

The Wheat Chamber at Cley Windmill

The Cley Mill Art Project

The Cley Mill Art Project
How lovely.

Using Cley Windmill as a teaching tool for artists !
Full story and step-by-step development of the picture can be seen by clicking here

Finished result below.
Thanks to thewobblybrush (!) for this post.

Perfect wedding at Cley Windmill

Sam and Andy's wedding pictures at Cley Windmill

With 3-4 weddings per week at the windmill , it is always great to see the different shots that the photographer captures.

On this occasion, Hannah Webster from Lifeline photography has done a beautiful job, aided, of course by a happy and handsome couple!
We wish them all the best for a wonderful life together.

See the full shoot (with permission) here : Sam and Andy's wedding at Cley Windmill

A Wonderful Windmill Wedding ~ UK Wedding Blog ~ Whimsical Wonderland Weddings


Wierd and Wonderful !

Wierd and Wonderful places to stay.
Well - I'm sure it's meant as a compliment !

Many thanks to the web-link below for our latest accolade!
Weird and wonderful places to stay click here

Cley Windmill weird and wonderful places to stay in the UK

Unlike that non-descript hotel you last stayed in, the handsome 18th-century Cley Windmill is entirely worthy of a picture or two (like in our featured image by Duncan~). A well-known local landmark, it looks over the famous Norfolk salt ...

Cley Windmill.

Well done Dereham windmill

Congratulations to Brian and Alison and all the trustees from Dereham Mill.

They have secured generous funding for the restoration works from BIFFA. I am sure it was an arduous application process - but well worth it!


It is planned to have a grander event in the Autumn of next year when the windmill is opened to the public.


Wishing you a great life together.

These stunning pictures of Sam and Andy's wedding at Cley Windmill tell their own story.
I have rarely seen such a well presented web album.

Thanks to the happy pair for allowing these to be shared on our blog - we wish them a wonderful life together.

The photographer is Hanna from 'Lifeline' and this was her first booking as a photographer.

Take a look at the pictures!

Windmills sail to top as most popular buildings

A poll showing that windmills are our favourite type of old building !

Friday August 17,2012

By Daily Express reporter

BRITONS are blown away by windmills – which beat castles, stately homes and even cathedrals as the UK’s favourite buildings.

They got 45 per cent from voters polled while lighthouses come second with 40 per cent, followed by castles and pubs.

The survey found nostalgia plays a big part in a building’s appeal, with happy memories the main reason for being attached to places. More than half of us would make a special trip to see a favourite building, says the poll by masonry paint specialists Sandtex.


Hello and welcome to the Cley Windmill Norfolk blog.

Through this blog we hope to bring you the most current news from the Windmill, including events and exciting developments.

For more information and availability, please look round the website or call us on 01263 740209