Walking your dog from Morston Quay

Ringed plover feeding on a saltmarsh creek at Stiffkey Marshes, Norfolk

Many of the birds breeding on the coast, including oystercatchers, terns, redshanks, avocets and ringed plovers nest on the ground, making them especially vulnerable to disturbance. Whilst many factors have a bearing on breeding success, human and particularly dog disturbance can have a significant impact. The presence of dogs can cause birds to leave nests and chicks, leaving them open to predation by gulls and other predators.

Dogs can be walked on the paths from Morston Quay throughout the year, but ground-nesting birds are often present between April and August. Please keep your dog on a lead or under close control during this important time.

There are dog restrictions in place on Blakeney Point from 1 April until 15 August each year with the beginning of the dog restriction zone marked with signs along the width of the beach. Please walk your dog on Cley beach during this period. Ground-nesting birds may nest anywhere on the shingle and in the marshes, not just in dog-restricted zones out on Blakeney Point. You may wish to follow the Norfolk Coast Path if you fancy a longer walk.

Oyster Catcher eggs camouflaged against the shingle nest.
three speckled brown eggs camouflaged in shingle
Oyster Catcher eggs camouflaged against the shingle nest.

Some ground-nesting birds such as avocets and little terns are Schedule 1 protected species. Did you know that disturbing these species, even unintentionally, is a prosecutable offence?

Working in partnership

Blakeney Point is part of Blakeney National Nature Reserve and has been under the care of the National Trust since it was gifted in 1912. Cley Marshes Nature Reserve was purchased by Norfolk Wildlife Trust in 1926 and was the first Wildlife Trust reserve in the country. Together these reserves, which stretch for six and a half miles, are internationally recognised as vitally important habitats for breeding birds.

Sandwich Terns on Blakeney Point
A group of Sandwich Terns standing on shingle
Sandwich Terns on Blakeney Point

Walking your dog on Cley Beach and Blakeney Point during the winter

Between the end of October and the end of January, the grey seals are pupping which means there are around 10,000 seals present on Blakeney Point. These can spread along the spit and even as far as Cley Beach. We ask that during this time you keep your dog on a short lead to protect the seals and your dog from injury. Seals can be very agressive and have a nasty bite.

Outside of this time we ask that dogs are kept under close control at all times to avoid risk to injury to wildlife that may be present on the beach. 

Friary Hills

To the east of Blakneney Village there is a small area of grass land called Friary Hills. Dogs are not allowed in this area at any point during the year. If you are wishing to walk through to Wiveton Hall then any dog owners will need to walk via the main road.

Our canine code

We want to make sure you and your dog get the most out of a trip to this national nature reserve. From improving dog-friendly trails to providing more waste bins and water bowls, we're taking steps to make sure you and your pup feel welcome.

In return, we ask you to keep the countryside a safe, healthy and enjoyable place for everyone. 

We’ve teamed up with Forthglade to create this canine code, so you and your four-legged friend can help care for the places you love:

Take the lead: help reduce the chance of your pup disturbing wildlife by keeping them on a lead.

Scoop that poop: bag it and bin it to keep your favourite places beautiful. 

Paws for thought: look out for information signs and take extra care on cliff paths.

Be on the ball: not everyone loves dogs, so keep them close by.