Saltholme Pools Hide

  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson
  • © Jim Stephenson

Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award

Highly Commended

Region

North East

Local Authority Area

Durham

Information about this scheme

The roots were borne by an understanding of the enormous potential in unlocking this unique site, even by utilising the hide’s existing structure: an uninspiring circular breeze-block and steel frame with solid concrete base. All elements of the existing fabric have been maximised, punching through the breeze-block walls and utilising natural materials such as birchwood to apply an inviting and tactile interior. The crowning element is the introduction of a second storey, inserted at the core of the existing structure and now allowing for full panoramic views of the spectacular surroundings and inhabitant wildlife. Alongside providing an elevated position to experience the expansive vistas, the new structure incorporates a rooflight to transform a previously drab building into one that enjoys warm bursts of natural light. Intended to harmonise the building and nature as one, a green roof and stained timber cladding, which flickers as the light traces along its surface, have been added to the exterior. A universal approach towards design has dramatically increased the accessibility of the building to all, including a sensitive landscaping of the leading ‘Dragonfly Path’. New signage at the entrance is visible through each step of this scenic approach, inspiring a sense of place. In addition, landscaping to the pools provides more beneficial feeding habitat for wading birds and breeding habitat. Despite logistic challenges, the team showcased an intensive approach towards resourcefulness, collaboration and communication to deliver this project under a very small budget. This is evidenced by the zero environmental impact placed upon the site and its wildlife inhabitants during build and also by the successful construction of Saltholme Pools during a narrow build window – staged specifically between bird breeding seasons. The result is a cherished community asset that now attracts a substantially larger demographic of visitors to this beautiful site beyond the resilient avid birdwatcher, including local schools, families, young adults, tourists, and organisations supporting less privileged members of the surrounding communities. Such an increase in footfall and visitor demographic has allowed the RSPB to now roll out its education sessions, one of the organisation’s core values, for all visitors to Saltholme, benefitting both wildlife and the public by raising awareness and supporting the RSPB’s Saving Nature strategy. To complement this, RSPB Saltholme is also now staging popular accredited CPD events and courses for local schools, institutions and organisations, of which outline the benefits of Saltholme Pools as an ‘outdoors experience’, helping pupils and members of the community build character, develop resilience and improve their well-being through curriculum or socially-linked practical lesson ideas.

Credits

Architect

Child Graddon Lewis

Structural Engineer

Price & Myers

Quantity Surveyor

Jackson Coles

Primary Use Class

Class D2 - Assembly and Leisure