Norfolk Wildlife Trust
The changing of the seasons
THE SUMMER holidays are over, the children have returned to school and the north Norfolk coast’s beaches are silent again but for the cries of gulls and the waves lapping or, on stormy days, crashing on the shore. This wonderful landscape becomes the habitat of walkers, birdwatchers and solitary fishermen once again. The change of the seasons also brings a perfect opportunity to spend time outdoors being inspired by the sights, sounds and smells of autumn and winter and reconnect with nature, regain some inner peace and discover some of the hidden aspects of this special coastline.
This autumn and winter, Norfolk Wildlife Trust is celebrating the north Norfolk coast through two long weekend mini-festivals: Cley Calling – Autumn Colours (Thursday 5 October to Sunday, October 8) focusing on art, nature, health and wellbeing; and Cley Calling – Winter Skies (Thursday, December 7 to Sunday, December 10) focusing on the breath-taking sights of the Norfolk coast, the sounds and the contrasts in light.
Cley Calling – Autumn Colours coincides with the Norfolk Walking and Cycling Festival 2017 and includes guided walks, health and well-being events and creative art workshops. The long weekend also features renowned street artist ATM. His expertise lies in painting endangered species, most commonly birds, in urban environments in order to urge humans to connect with nature. In October he will be creating a large scale mural of an iconic Cley bird species at NWT Cley Marshes nature reserve. Members of the public are welcome to come along and watch ATM in action as he creates his masterpiece at Cley Marshes Visitor Centre. He will also be running an interactive street art workshop with an ecology theme. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn some of ATM’s tricks of the trade, such as drawing, painting and stencilling, as well as putting them into practise themselves.
Artist ATM says: “My painted walls call attention to the beauty and importance of living creatures that are so often overlooked, and whose needs are so often ignored. By bringing colour and beauty to neglected parts of our cities and other places, I hope to inspire people to get involved actively creating a better environment; transforming our cities, countryside and seas for the benefit of nature and wildlife, which will in turn benefit all of us.”
Growing up in a northern mill town, ATM spent his childhood exploring moors, wooded river valleys and steep gorges around his home. Spellbound by birdsong and wildlife, those early experiences create the fusion of industrial, urban and nature in his art today.
Our busy, modern lifestyles mean we are no longer as connected to our amazing planet as we used to be – with much time spent indoors or travelling by car all counts towards reducing our bond with the natural world. There is a human need for contact with nature, which has such huge capacity
to benefit not only our physical needs but our psychological well-being too. As part of the Cley Calling – Autumn Colours festival weekend, Laurie Parma will be discussing her research into the relationship between well-being and biodiversity. She is currently working at the University of Cambridge on a project with the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, in which they have developed a new smartphone app called NatureBuzz. The aim of the app is to capture the relationship between human well-being and the environment, in order to further understand the benefits that nature can offer to us.
The Norfolk Walking and Cycling Festival 2017, coordinated by Norfolk County Council, aims to showcase the brilliant walking and cycling opportunities that the county of Norfolk including our beautiful coastline has to offer. Throughout Cley Calling – Autumn Colours, the trust will be hosting a variety of guided walks hosted by knowledgeable locals and seasoned experts, with spectacular themes ranging from coastal geology to Cley’s special wildlife and habitats. Some of the walking guides will be staying behind for a delicious supper, and guests will have the opportunity to join them and learn more about their knowledge and experiences on the north Norfolk coast.
Winter is also a magical time of year for exploring the beautiful Norfolk landscape, with refreshing coastal walks, the sounds and sights of hundreds of wading birds and incredible starry skies. The Cley Calling – Winter Skies weekend minifestival will celebrate this special time of year with walks, workshops and talks to discover more about wildlife whilst evening performances encourage rest and relaxation. The Norfolk Coast Partnership will launch the weekend with a fantastic talk on their Dark Skies project. Norfolk is one of the darkest counties in England, and the lack of artificial light makes the Norfolk Coast particularly good for stargazing, and helps it to maintain its rural character. Dark skies create a sense of tranquillity, and at Cley Marshes guests will have the chance to engage in a peaceful astronomy session, run by the Norfolk Astronomy Society, which aims to connect you more strongly with your senses and with nature.