Red Kite Design and Build Ltd

Swell Wood Bird Hide

This project, completed in autumn 2016 for the RSPB, reinvents the traditional bird hide into a contemporary structure which incorporates traditional and natural materials and techniques. Built entirely from locally and sustainably sourced timber, it offers a different type of bird watching experience.  The site is Swell Wood, where hundreds of Herons and Little Egrets nest high in the oak trees each spring, attracting many visitors.  The RSPB wanted a hide which allowed the visitor a better view of this spectacular natural occurrence, so we designed a hide which allowed the viewer to sit back and look upwards into the tops of the trees, whilst still being discreet so as not to disturb the birds. The living roof helps to achieve this, and a cob wall built in workshops with pupils from the local primary school divides the front and rear sections of the hide, creating a watching space and an entrance area which can be used for other events in the woodland.  The new RSPB hide was made possible by a legacy from Chris Harper and his brother, in memory of their parents who were head teachers at local schools.  According to Morwenna Aldis, Communications officer at RSPB Southwest, "This new structure, with its reclined benches and a breathtaking open front - frames RSPB Swell Wood’s natural spectacle in almost cinematic glory. This eco build with its curved green roof, is utterly enchanting and sympathetic to its woodland situ. Visitors won’t be able to resist the hide’s invitation to come inside and just sit a while.”