Uploaded: January 5, 2017 Posted: Mike Woodhead
Westhay Moor National Nature Reserve has continued to evolve and grow since Somerset Wildlife Trust first acquired land here in the 1970s. The reserve now has a very impressive improvement, the new North Hide.
For those of you that have visited Westhay Moor over the decades, you may have visited the original North Hide. Sitting out in the reedbeds it had a unique outlook across open water and reedbeds, with the Mendip Hills as a backdrop. After 25 years of service this hide was life-expired and sadly had to be closed. The Trust was keen to replace the hide but the money had to be found. After much hard work funding was pulled together with Viridor Credits and a private individual making significant contributions, a contractor appointed, and a fantastic design developed! The name of the contractor is a bit of a giveaway, “Roundwood Design”. The next challenge was to build the hide – out in a marsh!
The hard work was well worth it; the new, two storey, North Hide is in place and open to the public. It is accessed via a causeway coming off London Drove. Over the next few months a reed fringe will develop along its edges creating a natural screen and in the summer a stone track will be installed to improve access.
The hide itself is made from locally sourced European Larch that will weather and grey, blending with its surroundings. Inside you will find the use of round timber that gives the structure its integrity and longevity, with opening panels providing great views across the reserve. As you climb the stairs to the turret you are suddenly above the tops of the reeds and the view is impressive. Already there are regular sightings of otter, marsh harrier and bittern.
Don’t forget to have a peak under the secret floor panel and see if you can spot the fish in the shallows or an otter darting underneath. This hide will not only give visitors a unique glimpse into this diverse reserve but also provide a great vantage point to help survey and monitor the species that thrive here.
Another great addition to the network of hides in Somerset’s Avalon Marshes! A special thank you to those who have made them possible.
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