Fifth generation joins family in harvesting timeless fields of gold

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes.

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes. (left to right) Kelvin Bishop, son to Bernard, Ben Bishop, son to Kelvin, Bernard Bishop and Darren Bishop, nephew to Bernard. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

Every year, when the birds have fledged and the days have drawn in, the Bishop family heads out to cut the golden reeds of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes.

Marsh warden Bernard Bishop has been cutting reed on this stunning patch of land in North Norfolk for 65 years, becoming warden in 1979. Now his grandson Ben has joined his father, grandfather and uncle as the fifth generation to cut the reed.

Around 4000 reed bundles are harvested each year and sold on to local thatchers. New growth begins the following March, as birds nest, before reaching full height in September and being harvested in December.

Purchased in 1926 by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the marshes became a form of nature conservation which was replicated across the UK. Now, the 300 hectare coastal reserve attracts more then 110,000 visitors every year - and that's not including the feathered ones.

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes.

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes.

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes. Pictured is warden Bernard Bishop. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes.

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes. Pictured is warden Bernard Bishop. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes.

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes.

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes. Pictured is warden Bernard's grandson Ben Bishop. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes.

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes.

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes.

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes.

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes. Pictured is warden Bernard's son Kelvin Bishop. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes.

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes. Pictured is warden Bernard's nephew Darren Bishop. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes.

The Bishop family cutting the reed at Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme