22 December 2010
Grand designs for wildlife watching


One of the best places to go and experience wildlife on the Norfolk Coast has had an architectural makeover!

The RSPB Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve on the north Norfolk coast has seen some major changes in the last 12 months. The latest phase of the project to protect the reserve against coastal erosion has certainly exceeded all expectations.

Rob Coleman, Senior Sites Manager at RSPB Titchwell Marsh said: “Inspired by a bird’s wing and the war time buildings on site, the new hide is unique to look at and unique to look out of. Water birds such as teal, wigeon and avocet will reveal their intimate daily routines in front of the wide panoramic views. A new bespoke window design allows all to enjoy the reserve and it’s wildlife whatever the weather.”

The new hides were designed by Haysom Ward Miller, a Cambridge based architectural firm and constructed by a team involving RG Carter, Lancaster Earthmoving and Constructional Timber.

Patrick Ward of Haysom Ward Miller,said: "The uniqueness of this marshland landscape required a unique solution. Instead of a single building the new viewing complex has been fragmented into a series of smaller structures providing a variety of viewing experiences. The faceted shapes reduce reflections whilst improving viewing angles and are so arranged as to put one in mind of wings, boats, driftwood even; new precedents for this wonderful setting."

With funding from a European Partnership project called ‘Climate Proof Areas’, a new state-of-the-art wildlife watching area has been created and it wouldn’t look out of place on Channel 4’s Grand Designs.

The Climate Proof Areas Project is funded by the Interreg IVB North Sea Region Programme and is a partnership of organisations across Europe who are interested in looking at innovative ways of adapting to the impacts of climate change. 

Ruben Akkermans, Project Manager at CPA said: “The Climate Proof Area team is delighted to have been able to help with the construction of the fantastic new hides at Titchwell Marsh, particularly as they will enable large numbers of people to see a managed realignment site develop at first hand. This is, once again an example how climate adaptation provides opportunities for improvement.”

This unique, new hide at Titchwell Marsh will be looking over a managed realignment scheme, where sea defences are set inland to allow changes to take place on the coastline.  This flood defence technique may become more commonplace in the future and the new hides allow the public an opportunity to see the changes taking place at Titchwell Marsh and understand the benefits of this method of adaptation.

Rob Coleman went on to say: “This fantastic new facility will offer visitors to Titchwell a unique opportunity to see the changes taking place at Titchwell Marsh and understand what managed realignment schemes are all about.  It will allow our visitors to see how the wildlife of the reserve responds and we are very grateful to the CPA project for providing funding, without their help we would not have been able to provide such impressive facilities.” 

RSPB Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve is open every day with friendly staff and volunteers around to help families explore, birdwatchers spot the species and nature lovers indulge in beautiful surroundings. For information about events and opening times call 01485 210779.


For further information and to arrange an interview, please contact:

Erica Howe, Communications Officer, RSPB

01603 697595 / 07872814878

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