On 28th April Natural England opened a new tower hide at its Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve (NNR) in Somerset providing local nature lovers with spectacular views across the Avalon Marshes landscape.
Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve is one of England's most important wildlife site and home to rare species like Bittern, Bearded Reedling and Marsh Harrier, as well as wildlife spectacles such as the winter starling murmurations. The tower hide is located just a short distance from the Ashcott Corner car park. It offers far reaching, elevated views over the lakes and extensive reed beds of Meare Heath, the opportunity to glimpse some stunning wildlife and brings improved access and visibility for all visitors. The new hide was designed by Shattock Associates of Bridgwater and has been built thanks to the donations from the many supporters of the reserve (including the Society) during a 'crowdfunding' campaign in December 2015. Over £17,000 was raised to build the new hide. Simon Clarke, Senior Reserve Manager for Natural England at Shapwick Heath NNR said, "The public support we received in December was phenomenal and very humbling. It's provided us with the funds to create an incredible new hide that will really enhance the experience for all visitors to the reserve and allow them to enjoy a very special wetland. I'd like to thank everyone that has donated to the project, the really hard work of the contractors who've built the hide, and all those who have made this possible". The opening ceremony was attended by over 40 supporters of the project. The hide was opened by Dr Andy Clements, Director of the BTO (British Trust of Ornithology) and board member for Natural England.