When we took over the bird hide construction at RSPB Bowling Green Marsh, there really wasn’t much to work with – despite being a popular birding spot with an abundance of migrating birdlife, the existing hide was no more than a half-completed, concrete and cinder block shell. What we wanted to do was to bring the hide to life so that it could be enjoyed by nature lovers and to offer a place of serenity that fit in with the natural surroundings.
At The Wild Deck Company we believe that a bird hide is not only a functional building, but also a place of community where people come together to share knowledge and a love of wildlife. With that in mind, we built a bird hide that fit naturally into the surroundings, was comfortable to spend time in, allowed good facilities for bird watching, and offered a place for communities to grow.
We wanted the hide to appeal to visitors and to look natural, so clad the exterior in timber, helping it to blend in naturally to the environment and have a greater draw than the concrete hide that had previously existed.
The hide was spilt into two main parts – one side was specifically deisgned for bird watching (with appropriate windows) and the other was designed to be more family friendly, with fixed floor to ceiling windows offering views over the marsh and an area to promote wildlife education so that children become interested in nature.
The family friendly room is regularly manned by RSPB volunteers who help with bird identification, as well as the sharing of knowledge. The other side of the hide – designed specifically for bird and nature watching – features double windows that can be opened from the top or bottom (or both), allowing the use of binoculars, telescopes, and zoom cameras. A bench was placed in front of the windows, allowing visitors to stay and watch nature for longer than tired legs could manage alone.
Phase 1 – Dismantle and Clear the Site. When we started this project, the existing structure was an uninspiring concrete structure that neither attracted visitors, nor fit in with the natural landscape.
Phase 2 – Form dwarf walls and floor, manufacture the joinery
Phase 3 – Form the walls and roof
Phase 4 – Form fascias, claddings and roof covering
Phase 5 – Completion of joinery, claddings and decking!
RSPB Bowling Green Marsh bird 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!
Set in a special location, this was a special hide – even when we were getting up early in the morning to start work on the project, nearly 300 miles from home (over 5 hours of driving), it was a pleasure to be part of it.
Aside from the odd, special day, such as the grand opening ceremony, we don’t often get to visit our sites regularly and hear what people think of them. However, the following reviews have been left on Tripadvisor since we completed the project.
“one of the most comfortable hides you will come across”
“this is one of the best bird-watching hides around”
“Superb refurbished hide”
“Good example of balancing environment with tourism. Well constructed, configured, and managed. Successfully opened up the marshes of the Clyst without disrupting them.”
We’re very proud of this bird hide and glad to hear that so many people are enjoying it since we created it.
If you’re interested in your own bird or nature hide, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us – we’ll be happy to discuss any ideas you have and can work to your plans or come up with a design based upon your specifications. We can combine the bird hide with boardwalks, dipping platforms, viewing platforms, or anything else you might need in order to stimulate the outdoor environment experience that you are looking for. Every project we undertake is bespoke (and thus unique), and we look forward to hearing from you.
In the mean time, don’t forget to take a look at our other bird hides.