Members of the public can now enjoy watching wildlife from a brand new nature hide at Kielder Water & Forest Park.
Bakethin Hide, which was officially opened to the public on Thursday, July 20, has been designed and built by Newcastle University architecture students. It has been funded by National Lottery players through a £336,300 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) together with financial support from Northumbrian Water, as part of the ‘Living Wild at Kielder’ project.
Nine students from the university formed the core group working on the hide and were supported by employees and technicians at the architecture school, partner organisations and Northumberland Wildlife Trust employees and volunteers.
The project follows previous partnership working with the university including the redevelopment of Rochester Roundhouse in Redesdale.
The timber-built hide took several months to design and build and has two separate rooms that are fully accessible to people of all ages.
Each room offers a different view towards the lake and forest and a slightly different viewing experience for visitors.
The Lake View room gives the more experienced birdwatcher a slightly elevated view of the osprey nesting pole and upper lake and it is hoped that ospreys will use this pole to nest in future years.
The second, lower, space also gives full views of the lake and into the forest.
Each room contains information boards and beyond the hide two screening walls extend along the lakeside and into the forest – reducing the impact of visitors on the wildlife and helping to provide an undisturbed viewing experience from the hide itself.
Ivor Crowther, Head of HLF North East, said: "Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the new Bakethin Hide and the wider Living Wild at Kielder project is enabling even more people to access Northumberland’s incredible natural heritage. A fantastic range of partners, students and volunteers have put in a lot of hard work and we look forward to seeing the benefits for those who already love Kielder’s wildlife and the new audiences who are yet to discover it!"
Peter Sharpe, Art & Architecture Curator for Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, said: "As well as being a key element of the Living Wild at Kielder project, this is part of our Testing Ground programme, which enables us to commission innovative architectural pieces that are also invaluable learning tools for architecture students, providing them with design and construction experience and helping to develop their communication and negotiation skills with real clients."
Professor Graham Farmer who is Director of Architecture at Newcastle University said: "The completion of Bakethin Hide demonstrates the School’s ongoing commitment to offering an architectural education that provides opportunities for students to learn by doing. The project has been a challenging one and the students have had to navigate complex statutory, client and user requirements as well as developing a whole range of new design and construction skills. The quality of the finished structure is testament to their commitment and enthusiasm for the project."
Lynn Turner, Director of the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, said: "We are delighted to launch the new Bakethin Hide at Kielder. It’s been a fantastic project to work on and be part of and we have loved working closely with the students and our partners on it. We feel it will be of a huge benefit to the local community and visitors and will provide a fantastic vantage point for nature lovers for years to come."
Bakethin Hide is part of the Kielder Art & Architecture programme which is supported by Arts Council England.
‘Living Wild at Kielder’ is a partnership project delivered by Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, which includes: Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Northumbrian Water, Forestry Commission England and the Environment Agency, with support from Newcastle University and Northumberland National Park Authority.
The project’s aim is to bring Kielder Water & Forest Park’s amazing wildlife to life for visitors and residents, helping them enjoy, learn, share and immerse themselves in nature whilst also contributing to the long-term protection of the area’s special animals and plants.
For more information on all of the above visit www.kielderartandarchitecture.com/home.html