TV botanist opens new bird hide at Alderwood Lodges

David Bellamy opens the bird hide with Louise Conquest at Alderwood Lodges in Garboldisham. Photogra

David Bellamy opens the bird hide with Louise Conquest at Alderwood Lodges in Garboldisham. Photograph Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

Television botanist David Bellamy swooped to one of his favourite haunts yesterday to launch a new bird hide.

Ably assisted by flocks of youngsters, the childhood favourite arrived at Alderwood Lodges park to make the first official 'sighting' from the hand-built hide, on the banks of the River Ouse. Prof Bellamy also acted as a judge in a competition for the best bird-inspired drawing created by youngsters from Garboldisham Primary School and the village Brownies.

His visit came shortly after the presentation of his prestigious Gold Conservation Award to the family-owned Garboldisham park for the 10th year in a row.

'If you've got a place like this and you look after it the number of birds you can see is amazing,' he said. He added that the future was in the hands of the visiting youngsters, and that they should be 'very proud' of assets like the bird hide.

The park is made up of three lodges in nine acres of countryside which have been home to the Atkins family since 1948.

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The new bird hide, built from felled leylandi trees, was sited to give views over the river and parkland, and includes identification charts and a book to record sightings. Kingfishers, goldcrests, woodpeckers, jays, finches and herons are among those often seen.

Leigh Mills, who runs the park with her family, first met Prof Bellamy 20 years ago, and asked if he would officially open the new hide.

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'More and more people are into wildlife and it's all about learning,' she said. 'It's a great privilege to live and work in this beautiful part of Norfolk, and be able to help preserve its special character with the support of someone like David Bellamy.'

Carol McGahan, 1st Garboldishm Brownie leader, said she had brought 11 children between seven and 10 and a young leader to the event.

She added: 'This area is so beautiful and they learn a lot at school about the local area and it's good for them to experience it in a different way ad to see what's down here.'

Garboldisham Primary School headteacher Alice Hemmings added: 'We do a lot of work on outdoor learning and it's a big part of our curriculum. It's really important they know what's going on in their local community and some of our children are particularly interested in bird watching.'

Ms Mills' fiance Peter Barnes, a builder specialising in church restoration, built the hide with guidance from village carpenter Ollie Jackson.

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