Saltholme Pools Hide

The Brief

Saltholme Pools Hide is the retrofit of a dilapidated bird hide and the landscaping of adjacent pools. The aim was to turn the once unwelcoming, circular breeze-block building into a popular landmark and community asset, attracting visitors of all ages throughout the year. The rich wetland is surrounded by heavy clusters of Teeside industry, making it a unique oasis for biodiversity.

The hide has been completely refurbished, with a new observation tower inserted into the middle of the circular building. This new second storey, accessed by a timber spiral staircase, gives expansive 360 degree panoramic views of the reserve. A new rooflight fills the once gloomy hide with light, whilst the addition of dark stained timber cladding and a green roof acts to harmonise the exterior of the building with its surroundings.


RSPB & Teeside Environment Trust


Stockton-on-Tees, Middlesborough


Child Graddon Lewis


Not Disclosed


  • Community


  • Cost Consultancy

The Challenge

The logistics and constraints of the site made this a challenging project to deliver. Areas of the surrounding nature reserve have been designated both as a Wetlands Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Teesmouth and Cleveland Special Protection Area (SPA). Landscaping to make the building fully accessible to families and disabled users, including the addition of the main new “dragonfly path” along with other walking routes and trails around the building, had to be undertaken without impacting the sensitive ecology. This requirement fed into the programme, with the works on site needing to be completed in just a few months in order to avoid bird breeding seasons.

The project also had a very tight budget and was funded by a diverse range of public and private stakeholders. Our role as cost consultant was integral to ensuring the scheme could move ahead at each stage and ultimately be delivered within the budget envelope.

The Outcome

The entire project team had to employ resourcefulness, collaboration and communication to get the project over the line, and the result is a much cherished community asset. The hard landscaping was delivered with zero environmental impact, whilst works to the pools themselves have created a better feeding and breeding habitat for wading birds and local wildlife.

The RSPB have reported a big increase in footfall and a wider user demographic, including schools, families, tourists and organisations supporting disadvantaged groups as well as avid bird watchers. The building is now used for community outreach and education programmes, supporting the RSPB’s Saving Nature strategy.

The project was shortlisted for a RIBAJ MacEwen Award 2021 and won a Civic Trust Award 2021.

Size of reserve
0 acres
Number of seals who visit
Length of Dragonfly walk
0 miles
“A modest delight of a building. Community benefits are very significant and hugely important in any context, but even more so in one of the more deprived parts of the country.”
Judges' comments
2021 Civic Trust Awards

Other Projects We’ve Completed Include

White Eagle Lodge

The Cathedral & Abbey of St Alban

The Rose, Campbell Park