Island Mere Hide is dead (almost). Long live Island Mere Hide.
For those who haven't heard yet, we are replacing the very old Island Mere with an exciting new one that will offfer improved access for all, better viewing and the same impressive range of species that can be seen from the current hide.
The existing hide was built in 1978 and for many years has shown signs of its age. It can be quite dark and cramped inside which makes it very difficult to visit on a guided walk, and means it's not very welcoming for newcomers to birdwatching. Also, as anyone who has visited when the hide is busy will know, the viewing from downstairs can be very poor for much of the year as the reeds grow up to restrict the view, especailly for wheelchair users.
The new hide will be located on one level - that of the existing upper level. It will be eight metres further forward (as the original hide was), which will improve views along the reed edge and up the ditches running east and west from the hide. It will also have large deep windows to improve the all round viewing, whether you are seated or standing, using binoculars or telescopes. The new hide will be accessed via a longer ramp to ensure it is fully wheelchair accessible, and this ramp will itself offer improve opportunities to watch reedbed species, especially marsh harriers and bearded tits.
We have developed the hide design following extensive consultation with many existing users, and comparing hides on several other reserves, and we're really excited about the new hide.
The existing hide will be demolished on Monday 26 September, with the new one due to open in late November. This hide replacement is part of the Minsmere Discover Nature Project, with many more exciting changes coming over the next few months.
I visited Island Mere Hide for the last time yesterday and took the photos below, plus more that you can find on our Community gallery. I saw marsh harrier and bearded tit in my brief visit, while bitterns and otters have both been reported today.
Two panoramas from the hide
and the view approaching the hide
Island Mere Hide and boardwalk has received generous funding from Waste Recycling Group via Suffolk Environmental Trust and through the Natura People project, part financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the INTERREG IV A 2 Mers Seas Zeeën Crossborder Programme 2007-2013.
RIP Mere Hide - sometimes some upgrading is needed for the better
"We have developed the hide design following extensive consultation with many existing users, and comparing hides on several other reserves, and we're really excited about the new hide." let's hope you did not visit Titchwell. One Parrinder hide is enough!
We've taken the best bits from various hides and have designed a hide that will be bright, accessible and easily useable, whilst maintaining the incredibly close views of reedbed wildlife that were possible from the old hide. Please wait till the new hide is open before you pass judgement, as we're confident it will be a superb new addition to Minsmere's facilities.
Visited Island Mere Old Hide for the last time yesterday(25/9/2011), will always remember it for seeing my first bittern and watching the Marsh Harriers sore above the reeds. Can't wait to be in the new Island Mere Hide when its finished.