Thursday, 9 April 2015

Tower Hide, Steart

There are a great many hides from which to view wildlife dotted around Somerset's many nature reserves.  However I think the Tower Hide, which marks the beginning or end of the 50 mile River Parrett Trail is the most interesting one I have seen in the county.  It was designed by architect Wilf Burton and artist Tony Eastman in 1996 and looks like a tree house.  It also reminded me of the House in the Clouds at Thorpeness in Suffolk.  It opened in 1997 and replaced an older smaller rickety tower hide.  It looks out over the salt marsh and mudflats of the Bridgwater Bay National Nature Reserve, the lakes of Fenning Island and across the River Parrett to Burnham-on-Sea.  

There are steps inside to enable you to climb to the top level, which has windows that can be flapped upwards on all sides and at different levels, so that children can see out at their eye height level too.  For those people like my friend and I, who walked all the way from the source of the River Parrett at Winyard's Gap at Cheddington, Dorset there are plenty of benches on which to sit and rest your weary legs.  The strange metal sculpture on the top, which looks like a spaceman running is a lightning conductor.

The hide (grid reference ST 282 467) is located about 3/4 of a mile from the nearest car park and half a mile from the end of the metalled road.  There is also a permissive path, which runs along the shoreline south west wards towards and beyond the car park.

 Tower Hide, Steart

 Tower Hide, Steart

 Tower Hide

Looking north east towards Burnham-on-Sea from the Tower Hide.  If you squint, you can just about see the very low lying Steart Island in front of Burnham-on-Sea.  

 
Signpost at Steart with the River Parrett Trail sign

Further Reading:

The River Parrett Trail - published 1995 by the Parrett Trail Partners.  The route description and many of the contact details it contains are out of date but it contains some useful historical information.

Up to date instructions for walking the Parrett Trail can be found on the Somerset County Council website:

2 comments:

  1. What is the large carved wooden egg in the Tower hide?

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    1. I'm sorry but I don't know. It is described in the newsletter of the Somerset Ornithological Society as a dinosaur egg but they didn't know why it was there either: http://somersetbirding.org.uk/uploads/Bittern/bittern_newsletter_12.pdf

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