Author Archives: Phil Holms

Hawk & Owl Trust Open New Hide On The Moor

Members and friends of the Hawk & Owl Trust from all over the country gathered at Shapwick Moor last weekend to celebrate the opening of the first bird observation hide on Shapwick Moor, the Hawk & Owl Trust’s newest nature reserve, managed for its wildlife as part of the Avalon Marshes area and the Trust have been busy developing this former intensive arable farm into an area rich in wildlife. Through a close partnership with the neighbouring land owner, Natural England, it was possible to locate the elevated hide on high ground on the boundary with Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve, providing fabulous views over two nature reserves! The hide was built by local craftsman, Melvyn Yeandle, helped by Hawk and Owl Trust Volunteers.

The new observation hide is dedicated to the memory of late Hawk & Owl Trust Chairman, Barbara Handley, whose vision and industry brought about the creation of Shapwick Moor Nature Reserve.

A crowd of friends and special invitees gathered at the weekend to see the opening ribbon cut by Louis, Barbara’s 7 year old grandson, to great applause from the gathered throng. Barbara Handley was one of the people who were involved in The Trust acquiring the reserve and sadly she died just as the developments started.

Louis Handley Opens Hide named in memory of his Grandmother. Photo by Peter Burgess
Louis Handley Opens Hide named in memory of his Grandmother. Photo by Peter Burgess

This was the first step in a major series of developments on the reserve that will occur this year including the building of a second observation hide, new ponds and shallow water areas for observation of the wildlife, together with planting huge numbers of trees and hedges, and work to re-wet the fields to encourage the growth of some of the rare fenland plants typical of this area.

Phil Holms, Trustee for Hawk and Owl Trust said “The construction of this superb observation hide is a milestone for the development of Shapwick Moor and it is a pleasure for us to welcome so many of our members and visitors to our reserve”.

Winter Flooding delays ditch clearing work at Shapwick Moor

Members and friends enjoying the spring sunshine at the new hide
Members and friends enjoying the spring sunshine at the new hide

The wet winter has not affected the fields of Shapwick Moor as much as the land further south on the Somerset Levels, but the continual rain has reduced the amount of work carried out by youth groups on the reserve in late winter. We are desperately trying to catch up on this work programme.

This week members of Strode College joined our regular weekly school group from Millfield School to help cut back overgrown willows along one of our major access droves. This new group to Shapwick Moor have been working with the Avalon Marshes Landscape Project across many of the nature reserves of the Avalon Marshes and their efforts were greatly appreciated – hopefully they will join us again soon.