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New bird hide at National Forest Cycle Centre

Tuesday, 4th July 2017

Bird watching at Hicks Lodge

Local Brownies, a Scout troop and local people gathered recently with funders and supporters at Hicks Lodge, between Ashby de la Zouch and Moira village, for the launch of a new bird hide.

The hide is beside the lake at the Forestry Commission’s Hicks Lodge, the popular National Forest Cycle Centre off Willesley Lane near Moira. It is a robust metal container, clad in timber to soften its impact on the landscape. Bird enthusiasts can perch to look out of several viewing ports with their binoculars or telescopes.

The hide has been funded by Black to Green, a £1.1 million project supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund which is contributing £770,600 over three years. Other support has come from Leicestershire & Rutland Ornithological Society, and The Hicks Lodge Trust, with the Forestry Commission installing the hide and connecting footpath.

Kelly Brindley, Forestry Commission Manager for Hicks Lodge, said: “Hicks Lodge is a former coal mining site that has been totally transformed by new tree planting and exciting trails for people to enjoy. We’re so pleased to add the new bird hide to our list of attractions and a warm welcome awaits all of our visitors who want to see more of our Hicks Lodge bird life.”

Black to Green has been running a programme of bird identification and survey training for trainee members of the Heart of the Forest Recording Group. The group comes together monthly to learn about and record wildlife throughout the ten square miles at the heart of The National Forest and the bird hide will enable them to take their own and future learners’ training to another level.

Andy Smith, Vice-Chair of Leicestershire & Rutland Ornithological Society (LROS), was on hand to give fledgling bird watchers some hints and tips. He said: “LROS members are frequent visitors to Hicks Lodge, and our volunteers maintain the tern rafts on the lake. We’ve been involved with the planning of the bird hide and a future sand martin wall for a number of years, and are really looking forward to the hide becoming a regular base for bird watching activity.”

Popular birds to look out for on or around the Hicks Lodge lake are Mallard, Tufted Duck , Little Grebe, Black Headed Gull, Common Tern, Oystercatcher, Coot,  Moorhen, Lapwing and Skylark.

For more information, contact the Black to Green project on 01283 551211 or visit the website.