Many of our supporters have fond memories of the Meadow Hide and have been asking questions regarding it since the start of the pandemic. We wanted to update you all on our plans for the hide at The Lodge.

Our much-loved hide at The Lodge has been closed since the first lockdown, following Covid-19 guidance from the government. Sadly, with many staff and volunteers no longer on-site, the hide became an easy target over the past 18 months; vandals broke the door, lit fires on the wooden surfaces and floor, sprayed walls with paint, and broke windows and woodwork. 

Despite our best efforts, it has been vandalised multiple times since that first break-in and is now in a very poor condition as a result. Unfortunately, the damage done by people has left the hide open to the elements and rot has started to set in, making it structurally unsafe  to reopen. Due to this, we have made a difficult decision with the hide scheduled to be demolished in Autumn 2021, and so it will remain closed until then. 

We expect to remove the hide this Autumn, possibly in September 2021. It is in such a poor state as a result of the damage that we don’t want anyone to get hurt, including those who have vandalised it, so it needs to be demolished sooner rather than later.

 

Image: Two great spotted woodpeckers as seen on the reserve. Credit: Robin Gilmore

Having been built in about 1995, the damage done would be expensive and difficult to repair, and a complete replacement hide would cost tens of thousands of pounds. Repeated break-ins highlight  that it is now a known target for vandals, and we fear that further damages could be made in the future we were to build a new hide  in the same location. Whilst this might be disappointing news for many of you, we hope that you understand our decision and reasoning behind the review of our hide.

How can you get involved?

We are now actively considering how to provide alternative secure and accessible places to enjoy wildlife, suitable  for all visitors, including birdwatchers, families, and photographers. We hope to involve you, our valued members, followers and visitors, in the process, and welcome your ideas at this early stage. We’d love to hear your ideas either via comment, message or email: TheLodgeReserve@rspb.org.uk. 

Anonymous
  • Some places that have suffered damage to hides are now using steel railway containers that can have windows cut into them and then tastefully and carefully disguised so as not to appear harsh. These are less attractive to vandals and more hard wearing.