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Putting a roof on one of Britain’s best birdwatching spots

As one of Cornwall’s best birdwatching spots, the team at Stithians faced a unique problem when two of their bird hides needed a new roof. Being near one of the UK’s windiest lakes, the hides needed a roof which would not only blend in to the surrounding environment but also be able to weather extreme conditions. Turning to Ariel Plastic’s Coroline Corrugated Bitumen Green Roof Sheets, supplied by Roofing Superstore, wildlife lovers can now enjoy the scenery leak free, without the risk of being spotted.

Nestled in the heart of Cornwall, Stithians Reservoir is renowned for being one of the best areas for birdwatching in the South West, with its shallow lake and marshy edges providing a perfect home for a variety of local wildlife. Located near Redruth and surrounded by moorland, Stithians is an area of natural beauty, attracting walkers, campers, families and avid bird watchers all year round.

Jointly owned by South West Water and South West Lakes Trust, the northern cut off and South arm of Stithians Lake is also a designated nature reserve, managed by South West Lakes Trust and Cornwall Bird Watching and Preservation Society. The area boasts an impressive list of wildlife, including birds and otters.

Partly managed by the Cornwall Bird Watching Prevention Society, Stithians is home to a host of resident birds, including the Little Grebe, Tufted Duck, Buzzard and Kestrel; as well as rarer birds including the Black Tern and Black Necked Grebe.

The area is maintained by dedicated volunteers and South West Lakes Trust Countryside Wardens. Their role also includes ensuring that the open bird hides – shelters used by visitors to observe wildlife at close quarters – are maintained throughout the year.

Countryside Warden, Beth Heasman said: “Our bird hides are extremely popular, with both families and bird experts visiting the shelters all year round. This means the maintenance of the shelters is extremely important to keep attracting visitors to the lake.”

However, with the last major repair works of the hides taking place over 15 years ago, two hides were in need a new roof with leaks starting to cause minor problems. This was no easy project, as Beth explains: “Stithians is an area prone to extreme weather conditions and is famous for being one of the windiest lakes in England. This means that the structures need to be durable and capable of withstanding difficult weather, as well as blending in with the surrounding environment.”

Following a recommendation from a regular Stithians bird watcher, who also happened to work for major online construction retailer, Construction Materials Online, Coroline Corrugated Bitumen Green Roof Sheets were selected as the main material for the re-roofing projects.

Supplied by national plastic building product distributor Ariel Plastics – which is commended for providing high quality specialist roofing solutions – the Coroline Corrugated Bitumen Green Roof Sheets met the unique needs of the bird hides.

As a natural looking product, made from bitumen soaked organic fibres, the sheets provide excellent colour retention properties, as well as enhanced UV resistance and heat absorption. Colour options include brown, red, black and green, offering a considerable choice for a variety of different environments.

Taking a team of four made up of Countryside Wardens and Stithians volunteers, and just a day to complete, attaching the sheets to the first hide proved very simple. “Coroline sheets are very light in weight, making handling and installation easy, even for roofing novices. The material is also easy to cut and can be lifted in place by hand – then simply nailed into place to fix.” added Hayley.

For more information, please visit https://www.roofingsuperstore.co.uk/

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