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Norfolk port back in business with arrival of largest traditional commercial sailing boat in 60 years

PUBLISHED: 12:31 23 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:33 23 October 2018

Salford will be sailing into Cley harbour. Pictures: supplied by Mel Kemp

Salford will be sailing into Cley harbour. Pictures: supplied by Mel Kemp

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A Norfolk port is again open for business by boat and is set to welcome its largest traditional commercial sailing vessel in more than 60 years.

Before and after shots of Cley harbour. April 2018. Pictures: supplied by Mel KempBefore and after shots of Cley harbour. April 2018. Pictures: supplied by Mel Kemp

The port at Cley-next-the-Sea in north Norfolk was once one of the busiest in the UK.

Cargoes of grain, malt, cloth, and spices were exported and imported to and from Europe.

But siltation and land reclamation over the centuries led Cley’s estuary to become unnavigable.

Until a few years ago, all that remained was the narrow River Glaven – little more than a ditch - winding its way past the village and the iconic Cley Windmill and out to sea.

Before and after shots of Cley harbour. September 2015.  Pictures: supplied by Mel KempBefore and after shots of Cley harbour. September 2015. Pictures: supplied by Mel Kemp

But then in 2014, a group of volunteers joined forces to bring this once-thriving part of Cley back to life.

Donations were pledged, working parties organised and gradually Cley harbour came back into being. It’s now a busy little harbour with pleasure boats of all types coming and going.

And at about 9.30am on Saturday, October 27, a 30ft whelker known as Salford from the Coastal Exploration Company will be sailing into Cley.

Simon Read, chairman of Cley Harbour committee, said: “This will be the largest traditional working sailing vessel to visit Cley in over 60 years, and will be mark a key moment in the rejuvenation of Cley harbour.

“Salford was used recently in the filming of The Personal History of David Copperfield, starring Peter Capaldi, Hugh Laurie, Dev Patel and Tilda Swinton.

“The visual splendour of Salford moored next to Cley mill will no doubt be an impressive sight, and we look forward to seeing a good crowd on the quay to welcome her. We’re proud to say that Cley is once more open for business by boat.”

Cley harbour has brought the community together and wildlife has also benefited from the restoration work, with otters and kingfishers now regularly seen.

The harbour was awarded North Norfolk District Council’s Environment Award for 2018, and there will be a presentation on the quay after Salford’s arrival.

Armando Iannucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield was partly filmed on Weybourne beach and in King’s Lynn.

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