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New hides at Titchwell give panoramic view of Norfolk’s changing coastline

RSPB warden Dave Hawkins scans the shoreline from the new hide at Titchwell. PICTURE: Ian Burt.

RSPB warden Dave Hawkins scans the shoreline from the new hide at Titchwell. PICTURE: Ian Burt.

Archant © 2010

Once they were draughty old sheds, with a slit to poke your binoculars through and a bench to sit on if you were lucky.

"These fantastic new facilities 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."

Rob Coleman

But one of Norfolk’s favourite bird reserves now boasts some of the most futuristic bird watching hides in Britain, funded by Europe’s climate change watchdog.

Conservationists have been re-modelling the coastline at Titchwell Marsh, near Hunstanton, to cope with rising sea levels.

RSPB wardens hope that if they surrender outlying parts of the reserve to the sea, it will allow salt marsh to build up and protect vital habitats further inland, which support rare birds like the bittern and marsh harrier.

The £280,000 hides - Parrinder North and South - have been part-funded by a European partnership project called Climate Proof Areas, which supports innovative ways of adapting to the impacts of climate change.

Rob Coleman, senior sites manager at RSPB Titchwell Marsh, said: “These fantastic new facilities 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.”

The buildings provide a panoramic view of Titchwell’s changing coastline. Great flocks of teal and waders such as the avocet which forms the RSPB’s logo feed and preen almost on its doorstep.

“Inspired by a bird’s wing and the war time buildings on site, the new hides will be unique to look at and unique to look out of,” said Mr Coleman.

“A new bespoke window design will allow all to enjoy the reserve and it’s wildlife whatever the weather.”

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.”

The new Hides were designed by Cambridge-based arhitects Haysom Ward Miller and built by a team involving Norfolk-based RG Carter, Lancaster Earthmoving and Constructional Timber.

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