Bird Hide Takes Flight for New Location at Hickling Broad

Uprooting a fragile, 13-year-old bird hide on a Broadland National Nature Reserve isn’t the easiest of tasks, let alone when it’s attached to the legacy of the Cadbury family.

However we used our half a century of problem solving expertise to assist Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) in the movement of its 13ft tall Cadbury Hide at NWT Hickling Broad.

The Cadbury Hide has been re-sited to elevate it from the higher water levels that will be present on the nature reserve once the Hickling wetland creation is complete. The hide will overlook a much larger collection of scrapes and flashes as a result of the habitat improvement work.

As water management specialists, we worked closely with the team at Hickling to ensure the move was safe, stable and carefully managed so that disruption to the structure and local wildlife was minimal.

The move, which took two weeks from ground preparation to relocation, involved a number of different processes including carpentry to strengthen the base of the structure, groundworks to prepare the surrounding area and transporting the structure to its new home.

The move forms part of the NWT’s wider project to extend and improve 77 hectares of rare fenland habitat within the Upper Thurne and re-connect areas of floodplain with the Broad.

William Morfoot, Chairman of William Morfoot Ltd, said: “There are huge sensitivities around a project of this kind. Careful planning and working incredibly closely with the team on site at Hickling has enabled us to preserve the physical structure of the Cadbury Hide but also ensured that wildlife and visitors were subjected to as little disruption as possible.

“Its new position within the freshly enhanced local habitat will hopefully safeguard its longevity as a major attraction for visitors to the reserve for decades to come”.

Kevin Hart, Head of Nature Reserves at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, said: “The Hickling wetland creation project aims to create a more naturally functioning wetland eco-system on the nature reserve.

“A consequence of this important habitat work is that the timber Cadbury hide in its old location would have really suffered as the reserve gets ‘wetter’. The hide’s new higher position will protect the structure and provide a wonderful opportunity for visitors to view some of Hickling National Nature Reserve’s rare and precious wildlife.” 

NWT Hickling Broad is situated in the upper stretches of the River Thurne, and is the largest expanse of open water in the Broads. It is a National Nature Reserve, and its wide skies and open landscape offer the perfect place to visit at any time of year. It is a haven for rare Broadland plants and animals, particularly bittern and the swallowtail butterfly.

For anyone who would like more information about our water management and land drainage services call 01362 820 371.