New hide allows for much closer bird-watching at wetlands
A CORNISH farmstay holiday provider has continued its commitment to eco-tourism with the completion of a new purpose-built bird hide.
The new hide, at The Olde House in North Cornwall, overlooks the farm's 15 acres of flooded wetlands, which link up with the neighbouring Walmsley Bird Sanctuary.
Built eight feet up, the bird hide is a perfect viewing point for watching the birds without disturbing them.
Shaun Hawkey of The Olde House said: "You could visit the wetlands before, but the birds would be scared away very quickly. The walkway to the hide is screened so birds can't see anyone approaching and visitors are able to get a good view.
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"Our countryside and its wildlife are very important to us and this bird hide is a step in the right direction to help enjoy our surroundings and keep them protected."
Last year the Hawkey family, who have been farming at The Olde House for three generations, created three permissive footpaths allowing public access to their 550-acre farm. The bird hide sits on the farm trail, allowing both visitors and the public to use it.
The wooden hide is wheelchair accessible and has six windows which can be latched open, including two lower windows for children and wheelchair users.
With its mild climate, Cornwall is the perfect spot for birds including waders, wildfowl and raptors. The wetlands are home to more than 40 different species and are visited by rare migrating birds including the American bittern and the glossy ibis.
The Olde House, which offers self-catering cottages on its site, was granted funding from Natural England to build the hide.
Established in 1939, the Walmsley Bird Sanctuary was one of the first nature reserves in Cornwall and today features more than 20 hectares of reclaimed flood plain.
Aside from bird-watching, guests are free to enjoy the onsite facilities including an indoor heated pool, whirlpool and sauna, indoor and outdoor play areas, tennis courts and pets' corner.