An official opening of the new bird hide at Paxton Pits Nature Reserve took place on Friday 16 October. Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) Chairman Cllr Peter Bucknell, HDC’s Managing Director Jo Lancaster and Jacque Ransome from Little Barford Power Station jointly cut the ribbon to mark the occasion.

The original wooden bird hide was built locally in 1997 as a result of Friends volunteer, Faith Darlow, winning a competition run by Birdwatching magazine, but was sadly burnt down in July 2014. Work was put into raising money to replace the much loved and well-used hide and, after incorporating many ideas from other hides around the country, a new and improved hide was built in March this year. Many people have played an important role in the project, including the Paxton Pits rangers and practical volunteer team, as well as local contractors. Children from the Environmental Education Centre were also involved and planted a new hedge in front of the hide.

Speeches were made by Senior Ranger Jim Stevenson, Graeme King of Aggregate Industries and the Chairman of the Friends of Paxton Pits Nature Reserve, Mike Thomas, before the ribbon was cut. The plaque was unveiled by Faith Darlow and Duncan Hayden, after whose father the hide is named. Hayden Hide was funded by the Friends of Paxton Pits, Huntingdonshire District Council and Little Barford Power Station.

Cllr Robin Carter, Executive Councillor for Operations and Environment, said: "Paxton Pits Nature Reserve is a wonderful place which is visited by over 100,000 people every year. The new bird hide is a great facility, allowing people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the wealth of wildlife at the reserve." 

Senior Ranger, Jim Stevenson, said: "The hide is made from a metal container, which has then been converted for use by the fitting of windows and benches. It is essentially unique; tailor-made to our needs and the space available. We are very pleased with the result and the official opening enabled us to celebrate with all who were involved."

Further information about the Paxton Pits Nature Reserve facilities, wildlife sightings, events and much more can be found on the Paxton Pits website.