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Best use of timber 2012 shortlist – Loch Leven Bird Hide

Name of building
Loch Leven Bird Hide
Date Completed
October 2011
Building type
West shore of Loch Leven, Fife
Icosis Architects
The Rural Access Committee for Kinross-shire (TRACKS)
Main contractor

Hutton & Read Ltd


The Project

The new bird hide at Loch Leven was commissioned by The Rural Access Committee of Kinross-shire (TRACKS) and Scottish Natural Heritage as part of a phase of works to provide barrier-free access to the 12.5 km Loch Leven Heritage Trail for walkers of all ages, cyclists and wheelchair users. This is a small, but carefully crafted structure: part hide, part bridge and part screening, providing an enclosed viewing platform overhanging the loch, whilst reducing noise and visual disturbance to wildlife from the path.

It is hoped that the Loch Leven Bird Hide will enhance the experience of users of the Heritage Trail, providing a place to stop and enjoy the natural beauty of the loch and its wildlife.

Use of Timber

This structure uses three different types of Scottish timber – Douglas Fir, Larch and Oak – each specified for its particular and practical qualities. The main beams for the floor, roof and bridge utilise the strength of Douglas Fir; the frame, louvers and cladding are done in Larch, including varying profiled board widths for cladding the hide and grooved Larch also used for decking boards; whilst the elements requiring a higher quality finish – the viewing apertures, shelves and benches – were formed using Oak.

The foundations for the hide sit on the (varying) shoreline of the loch, which required a temporary water-filled cofferdam to enable the installation of the three pre-cast concrete bases. Two large Douglas Fir beams are bolted to these bases, on to which the bridge and hide are secured. The hide was constructed in panels off-site at Hutton & Read’s workshop – with the inner frame of each panel stained black and clad externally using five varying widths of Scottish Larch – in order to reduce time and minimise disruption to wildlife during assembly at the loch.

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