A NORTH-EAST nature reserve is hoping to attract new visitors following an extensive refurbishment of a main visitors attraction at the site.

The RSPB Saltholme nature reserve, near Stockton, closed its 'Pools Hide' site, to allow for the redevelopment of the area.

The reserve, which allows hundreds of visitors each week, to view the goings-on within a small slice of nature near Teesside's industrial sites, has become increasingly popular with families and photographers over the years.

Earlier this week, the hide reopened to the public featuring a specially-designed 360-degree elevated platform.

Martin Harper, director of conservation at the RSPB, said: “I’m delighted to open the new RSPB Saltholme Pools Hide which is an important new attraction for wildlife, set among the industrial landscape of Teesside – it will be great to welcome new visitors, to the site to come along and see the fantastic views from the hide and experience all the wider Saltholme reserve has to offer.”

The Northern Echo:

The Hide Pools site at RSPB Saltholme

The improvement project, which began in July 2018, also included the addition of a tower infill, and landscaping of the pools which surround the hide.

The decision to adapt the pools also meant that the habitat for wading-birds became better-suited for natural feeding and pool maintenance.

Chris Gilligan, lead architect for the hide, said: “We’re really pleased with the positive response we’ve received for the Saltholme Pools bird hide from both the client and its cherished visitors – the new hide offers an experience that enhances each visit and a reason to return with friends and family. The design had to work hard on limited resources to give something back of value to everyone. And this value has been founded in the resourcefulness of the team, the simplicity of the design, and in a renewed appreciation of nature for more visitors in the years to come.”

Aimee Lee, visitor experience manager, said: "We are delighted to officially launch the Saltholme Pools Hide, which will provide an exciting new addition to our visitor attraction line-up – whether that is families keen to see the reserve from a new point of view, or keen photographers enjoying a new space from which to capture shots of the variety of wildlife."