New Bird Hide Wins Living Landscapes Award

Monday 16 June 2014

A welcome addition to woodland walk at RHS Garden Hyde Hall

The new bird hide at RHS Garden Hyde Hall, near Chelmsford, is now officially open to the public and has won a Living Landscapes Award from the Essex Wildlife Trust.

The new feature will give visitors to the garden an opportunity to observe more closely the ever-increasing number of birds that pay Hyde Hall a visit, including coots, moorhens, swans, little grebes and tufted ducks. Although the hide was completed last year, information panels, binoculars and a few other finishing touches were added over the winter months, and now the hide is ready for the summer season ahead.

This joint venture involving RHS Garden Hyde Hall’s neighbours – the Essex Wildlife Trust and Essex & Suffolk Water – began when former Hyde Hall gardeners Chris Ritchie and Richard Smith came up with the idea of installing a hide at the garden. Chris and Richard discussed the idea with Bill Godsafe, warden for nearby Hanningfield Reservoir nature reserve. Once they had a suitable design concept, Bill then set about sourcing the wood, mainly oak and cedar, directly from the Hanningfield reserve and had it all delivered to the garden. Hyde Hall staff then began the task of assembling the hide, and now the 16 x 8ft (5 x 2.5m) structure proudly sits on the banks of the garden’s reservoir.

RHS Garden Hyde Hall biodiversity team co-ordinator, Lee Hood, said: “It’s been a great project to work on and the fact that it has been built in a sustainable way using wood sourced just a few miles away is fantastic. To then hear that we had received a Living Landscapes Award was just amazing.”

Living Landscapes Awards are presented to organisations, groups, businesses and individuals who can demonstrate that their project meets the criteria of it being good for wildlife, good for people and the community, and good for the local economy.


Notes to editors

For more information, please contact either:

Sue Carter, RHS Garden Hyde Hall: 01245 402006; email

Emma Brogden, Essex Wildlife Trust: 01621 862954, email

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1. Essex Wildlife Trust’s ‘Living Landscapes’ vision is to Restore, Recreate and Reconnect wildlife rich habitats including Local Wildlife Sites and Nature Reserves across Essex in an initiative that aims to be Good for Wildlife, Good for People and Good for Economy. This is a vision shared by all 47 Wildlife Trusts in the UK and by the UK government as outlined in the Natural Environment White Paper. Hanningfield Reservoir Visitor Centre is at the heart of the ‘Hanningfield Reservoir and Woods Living Landscape Area’,1 of 80 such areas designated by Essex Wildlife Trust in Essex.

2. The Living Landscapes Award will be presented to Hyde Hall on Saturday 21 June at the Essex Wildlife Trust’s Annual General Meeting. For further updates please check the website: 

RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Creephedge Lane, Rettendon, Chelmsford, Essex CM3 8ET. 0845 265 8071

Opening times
The garden is open daily, except for Christmas Day
Mar – Oct Mon – Sun: 10am – 6pm
Nov – Feb Mon – Sun: 10am – 4pm

The plant centre, gift & bookshop and café are open daily from 9.30am.

Last admission is one hour before closing.

The ‘Sprung’ sculpture exhibiton will be open daily from 10am – 5pm.

Admission prices
RHS members enjoy free entry with a family guest (entitlements may vary according to membership type).

Adults £8.75 (£7.95 without Gift Aid)
Children (5 – 16yrs) £4.40 (£3.95 without Gift Aid)
Children 4 & under Free
Family (2 adults + 2 children £23.70 (£21.50 without Gift Aid)
Groups of more than 10 people £6.20pp (booked in advance)

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood for the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture. We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity.

Today the RHS is committed to providing a voice for all gardeners. We are driven by a simple love of plants and a belief that gardeners make the world a better place. 210 years on we continue to safeguard and advance the science, art and practice of horticulture, creating displays that inspire people to garden. In all aspects of our work we help gardeners develop by sharing our knowledge of plants, gardens and the environment.

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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit

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