Bird Hides & Wildlife Hides

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13-front-view-bowling-green-marsh-topsham-bird-hide-rspbProfessional Bird Hide Design and Construction

Bird hides and nature hides are at the core of our business, and as experienced timber structure specialists for several decades, it was the construction of bird hides that really kick started The Wild Deck Company and brought it to life. We believe in the construction of high quality, durable bird and wildlife hides, as well as bird blinds and wildlife screens. We can work to your design or we can design a structure from scratch, no matter whether you aim to encourage learning, attract new visitors, or encourage visits from schools, photographers, and nature lovers. With our attractive, custom-made bird hides, we can make something that you and your visitors will love for many years to come.

Every bird hide that we make at The Wild Deck Company is completely bespoke and custom built to your requirements, ensuring that you get exactly what you are looking for.


Our Bird Hide CV – A Few of Our Past Creations


We have so much that we’d like to share with you about our bird hide design and construction services, but first we’ll show you a few of the bird hides that we have already created because action speaks louder than words. We are rather proud of each and every design, and clicking them will give you detailed information about each project.

Hide Bay Hide

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Built to blend into nature, this large bird hide has front and side facing, double-shuttered windows that look out over Abberton Reservoir. Wildlife screens keep approaching nature lovers hidden from view in front, tree planting will soon hide the hide from behind, and a sedum roof even helps the hide to blend into nature from above.

Bowling Green Marsh Hide

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A huge hide that features a viewing area with nine front-facing, double shuttered windows as well a family friendly room that offers a place for volunteers to interact with children and educate them about nature. This project was an ugly, incomplete, concrete shell before we took over and made something bird watchers now love.

Children’s Visitor Centre

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Whilst not primarily a bird hide, this structure has a dual purpose, operating as both a bird hide and as a children’s information centre. The openness makes it easily approachable and shuttered windows allow the option of interacting with nature (or not). This is a good example of how we can make timber buildings to satisfy multiple criteria.

Island Hide

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This attractive bird hide features a pitched, cedar shingle roof that is instantly distinguishable from traditional, flat roof bird hides. This is one of many infinite customisations that we are able to perform and the hide stands proudly over Abberton Reservoir. A screened ramp allows wheelchair access that is hidden from nature, keeping disturbances to a minimum.

Wigborough Bay Hide

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Size isn’t everything, especially when it comes to bird hides. Whilst most of our hides are large, spacious structures that can accommodate multiple visitors simultaneously, this particular hide is complimentary to three much bigger hides at Abberton Reservoir and serves the purpose of allowing sheltered nature viewing for a small audience.

Gwen’s Hide

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With a sedum roof that allows it to blend in from above, wooden screens that protect nature lovers from view when approaching the hide, and a tree planting project underway behind the hide, this large bird hide will soon disappear from view, allowing visitors to observe nature with minimal disturbances. An access ramp allows access for wheelchair users.


What The Wild Deck Company Stands For


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Welcoming, Natural Designs

All of our hides are bespoke and constructed to the highest standards. When it comes to bird hides, we believe that form is as important as function – bird hides are places where communities are built and where people choose to spend their free time. And they live in nature. It is with these core values in mind that we aim to build beautiful structures that are sympathetic to the environment, whilst also using sustainable materials for the benefit of humans, animals, and nature alike.

Read more about our design services.

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Professional Experience

With 30 years of construction experience and working in nature reserves with clients such as the RSPB and local Wildlife Trusts, our experience is hard to beat. Our service includes all planning and installation requirements as well as written, costed proposals for grant applications. From start to finish, we make the process easy for you, regardless of whether you have a strict plan that must be followed or only a vague idea of what it is that you want. We are are here to help realise your needs.

Read more about our services.

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Fully Bespoke Designs

We can construct your hide to meet any requirement and incorporate any features that you require. Whether it’s aesthetic considerations (such as a particular roof style or design feature), functional features (such as shuttered windows, electricity, heating, or running water), or environmental concerns (involving the use of local, sustainably sourced timber that offers longevity), we can cater to any project and can accommodate any request. Please don’t be afraid to make your wishes known.

Read more about customisation options.


Full Service From Start to Finish


plans-for-hide-bay-bird-hide-at-abberton-reservoir-for-essex-wildlife-trustFixed Price Quotes And An ‘All-In’ Service

We offer fixed price quotes for all work discussed and provide an itemised and detailed proposal as standard. To start though, tell us about your project and we’ll give you an estimated cost prior to a formal proposal. There’s no need to hire separate contractors to design, construct, landscape, install, and maintain your bird hide. We can cover every aspect for you from design and planning to implementation and maintenance. For projects dependent on funding applications, we can provide our itemised proposal for inclusion in your application. We’re happy to discuss potential projects in advance to support this.

Initial Discussion

Contact us for an initial discussion about your ideas and requirements. If you like the sound of what we have to offer, the next step is to book a surveyor visit. We can also give you a cost estimate and answer any questions you might have.

interior-with-shutters-open-island-bird-hide-at-abberton-reservoir-for-essex-wildlife-trustSite Survey

Our surveyor will visit your site in order to discuss the project in more depth and take various details such as dimensions, positioning, terrain, as well as climatic and landscaping constraints.

Proposal

A full written proposal including design specifications, plans, costs, and time-frames will be prepared. If required, we can provide multiple costed options to find the best solution for your needs.

On Go-Ahead: The Full Service

The Wild Deck Company provides a fully comprehensive service which includes obtaining planning permissions and any other necessary consents, saving you valuable time. Our service doesn’t stop there though as we’ll be on hand to deal with anything you might need from start to finish and beyond. With decades of experience building bespoke timber structures, we’re professional, knowledgeable and flexible.

essex-wildlife-trust-logo“I have found them to be an innovative, friendly company with fresh ideas for Bird Hides, pond dipping platforms and children’s play areas. The quality of their work has always been extremely high; I would have no hesitation in recommending the Wild Deck Company.”

Essex Wildlife Trust (Abberton Reservoir)

Aftercare and Maintenance

We believe that our customers are our customers for life and our service doesn’t stop when the hide is built. In addition to our support prior to construction, we will also provide a comprehensive handover with advice on maintenance and upkeep of the new hide. Also, should you ever need to, we can return to make modifications, updates, or any other changes you might need so that your hide remains accessible and up to date.


 Bespoke Bird Hide Design


Every project that we work on is fully bespoke, meaning that you get exactly what it is that you want from your bird hide. This covers aesthetic, functional, and environmental design considerations.

childrens-visitor-centre-octagon-bird-hide-abberton-reservoir-essex-wildlife-trust-planBird Hides Are More Than Functional

At The Wild Deck Company, we believe that a bird hide is more than a functional structure. They are places where communities are built and where people choose to spend their spare time. We believe that Bird Hides should be attractive and welcoming so that visitors are inspired to find out more. They should blend in naturally with the surrounding environment and should enhance the location: they don’t even need to be square either! We can design and construct a hide to any size or shape and it can be themed to fit in with local landmarks. Our designs are intended to raise the profile and image of our clients.

From our past experience we have found that when people enjoy a bird hide, they will come back to visit more regularly and they will spread the news to others, attracting new visitors. Our bird hides at Abberton Reservoir have been so successful that we have now been invited back on multiple occasions to create more structures, including five bird hides, a children’s visitor centre, an outdoor play area, and a sand martin bank.

entrance-and-walkway-island-bird-hide-at-abberton-reservoir-for-essex-wildlife-trustMulti Purpose Structures

Through planning and intelligent design we can accommodate a range of uses into your hide such as accessories for educational use, school trips, and learning. By adding additional features and tailoring the design, we can create a range of possible uses from a single structure – from classroom to meeting point to wildlife hide, it’s all possible.

Beautifully Designed Wooden Hides

Hides don’t have to be ugly and with simple, cost-effective features such as overhanging eaves and splay corners, our designs are attractive, welcoming, and make a great impression. We also like to incorporate natural light wherever possible, usually through the rear or approach elevation of the building.

Sympathetic To The Natural Landscape

Bird Hides are about offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy nature without disturbing it. We often build screens around the approach to our hides to minimise disturbances, thus optimising the nature viewing potential for visitors as well as the natural setting for wildlife. Depending upon the local environment, we can also build wooden boardwalks which allow wheelchair access and prevent the entrance to the hide becoming worn which would result in lots of soil being trafficked into the bird hide. To further allow our hides to fit into nature, we sometimes install a sedum (natural, growing) roof and have seen tree planting projects successfully implemented to make our bird hides fit seamlessly into natural environments.

site-visit-side-view-octagon-bird-hide-childrens-visitor-information-centre-abberton-reservoir-essex-wildlife-trustWeathering Down

By using natural timbers, all of our creations ‘weather down’, blending subtly into the natural environment. Whilst we love the look of a brand new, fresh bird hide (or any other timber structure for that matter), we really love the softer hues that the timbers take on over time, after being exposed to the elements.

The photo that you can see of our Children’s Visitor Centre was taken several years after the initial installation. As you can see, the structure is as good as the day it was put up, a testament to our construction and engineering skills. The only real change is in the hues of the wood as the structure now blends in more naturally with the surroundings. Both the oak boards and the cedar shingles have softened to a similar colour. Of course, if you wanted a structure to remain looking in a certain way, you could use wood treatments to maintain a certain look, but with this structure we wanted it to be as natural and maintenance free as possible.


Bird Hide Customisations


Almost anything that you might wish to include in your bird hide is a possibility. Here are a few of our more common customisations, but don’t be afraid to challenge us further.

  • Any Size Hide: we have built huge hides, such as Bowling Green Marsh Hide, through to very small hides, such as Wigborough Bay Hide, and there is still possibility to go bigger or smaller than these.
  • Approach Screens: Keeping hidden from nature to avoid disturbing it is vitally important. We like to implement natural screens on open land that hide nature watchers from view as they approach hides. In the past we have created wide screens, such as on Gwen’s Hide, and screened entrance walkways, such as on Island Hide.
  • Boardwalks and Ramps: A boardwalk helps protect the ground around a bird hide, but more importantly, can allow wheelchair access into our hides. We have often been complimented on how accessible our boardwalk-featuring sites are to wheelchair users and we pride ourselves on making inclusive structures.
  • Window Options: Glazed, open, or shuttered windows are all possibilities in bird hides. Often we incorporate double shuttered windows into our bird hides to allow control over access to the outside, but in certain situations a glazed or open window can also be included. Bowling Green Marsh Hide featured fixed windows in the family area and double-shuttered windows in the bird watching area.
  • Seating: Fixed or unfixed, seating is important to enhance the comfort of visitors. Our favourite seating is a fixed bench that runs around the windows.
  • Utilities: Heat, power, running water, and bathrooms – we can make a bird hide as comfotable as you want it to be.
  • Roof Design: Traditionally bird hides have uninspiring, flat roofs, but we have experimented with a pitched, cedar shingle roof on Island Hide and a living, growing, sedum roof on Gwen’s Hide and Hide Bay Hide. We can still do a traditional, flat roofed hide, but we like our clients to know that there are many other possibilities.
  • Interior Features: Notice boards, tables, leaning posts – whatever you need, we can make it.

Here are a few examples of our customisations (although many more can be found by looking through our past creations):

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Fixed Windows
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Special Visitors to Our Bird Hides


Whilst the wildlife and the general public are by far the most important visitors to our bird hides, some of them have also been visited by some very high profile individuals which has made us even prouder of what we have created.

sir-david-attenborough-at-abberton-reservoir-essex-wildlife-trustA Visit by Sir David Attenborough

The naturalist and broadcaster – and an icon of recent decades – Sir David Attenborough, paid a visit to Abberton Reservoir to mark the completion of the £150 million Abberton Scheme by unveiling a special engraved stone.

Our five hides and Children’s Visitor Centre were a part of this huge scheme which enlarged Abberton Reservoir by 58% whilst creating a vastly improved habitat for wildlife.

Sir David commented, “I can remember a time when nature conservation and development were seen to be in opposition – you either developed or conserved – and that led to confrontation. Here at Abberton Reservoir this is fundamentally, extraordinarily, and wonderfully different.”

This idea of development and environmental conservation goes hand in hand with our core beliefs at The Wild Deck Company and we are very proud to be part of such a forward thinking, environmentally friendly development project. As Sir David Attenborough said, conservation and development no longer have to be at loggerheads, and we hope to see many more projects that align with this ethos in the future.

25-opening-day-cutting-of-the-ribbon-by-rspb-president-miranda-krestovnikoff-bowling-green-marsh-topsham-bird-hide-rspbRSPB President’s Grand Opening

RSPB Bowling Green Marsh Hide had a Grand Opening celebration with many attendees from Topsham and the surrounding local area – as well as a few passers by who happened to be visiting for the nature sighting opportunities. Food and drink was sold, speeches were made, and the opening day ribbon was cut by the RSPB president (and TV presenter) herself, Miranda Krestovnikoff.

We were there to join in the festivities and it was a pleasure to walk around and listen to all the praise that the new bird hide was receiving – as we were dressed in casual clothes for the event, nobody knew we were the creators when we were talking to them, and we only told them after they had told us how much they liked the new hide!


What Do People Think of Our Bird Hides?


Aside from the odd, special day, such as a grand opening ceremony, we don’t often get to visit our sites and hear what people think of them. However, the following reviews have been left on Tripadvisor about our bird hides.

“one of the most comfortable hides you will come across”

by GreyTraveller69 – review of Bowling Green Marsh bird hide

“Bird hide out 10/10”

by Brandon R – review of Abberton Reservoir bird hides

“this is one of the best bird-watching hides around”

by stevenovich – review of Bowling Green Marsh bird hide

“Extremely disabled-friendly. [..] I Could easily access the entire site including the hides.”

by Sheila D – review of Abberton Reservoir bird hides

“Superb refurbished hide”

by Maigemu – review of Bowling Green Marsh bird hide

“Excellent bird-watching centre”

by Anthony R – review of Abberton Reservoir bird hides


Bird Hide Construction


construction-at-workshop-in-norfolk-hide-bay-bird-hide-with-sedum-roof-at-abberton-reservoir-for-essex-wildlife-trustQuality, Sustainable Materials

At the Wild Deck Company, we only choose ethically sourced FSC timber in all of our projects, or wood from a similarly proven sustainable source. Using either hardwood or softwood, our bird hides are made to exact specifications and, if using softwood, can be treated and painted in a range of colours.

Off Site Construction Before Installation

We generally build as much of the bird hide off site as possible in our workshop in Norfolk. When we have everything we need / everything we can make off site, we then bring the timber to site and put the bird hide together. Working in this way minimises the amount of time we have to stay away from home, thus reducing overheads which we can pass on as a saving to customers.

old-and-new-gwens-hide-bird-hide-for-essex-wildlife-trust-at-abberton-reservoirOut With the Old, In With the New

Here you can see an example of an old bird hide that we replaced with a new one at Abberton Reservoir. Whilst the old hide served an important purpose for a number of years, the new hide marks a significant improvement, offering a much more comfortable viewing experience and a structure that fits more naturally into the landscape, accommodating a larger number of visitors.

This contrast between the two hides exemplifies what it is that we want to achieve at Flights of Fantasy – creating natural looking hides that are highly functional. Another project where you can see the old to new transition is at our Bowling Green Marsh Bird Hide (pictured below) where we took over an incomplete concrete shell and made something that nature lovers could enjoy visiting.

1. The Inherited Structure

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2. During Construction

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3. The Finished Hide

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Your Bird Hide


Please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us via email or phone to discuss your own hide – we are only too happy to help, and can work from strict plans or design a bird hide completely from scratch to fit your needs. We can also incorporate the design with other features to compliment your natural setting such as boardwalks, dipping platforms, and observation decks / viewing platforms.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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