The reception Bird hide at Top Hill Low, Driffield is centre piece of the facilities at the nature reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest with views over the large expanse of water. The hide combines classroom facilities, overlooking a dipping pond, a public viewing gallery with large picture windows to view the extensive, ‘D’ reservoir and a twenty-four hour twitcher’s hide for the dedicated bird watchers wanting to catch migratory birds on their last stop in the country before departing to warmer climes.
This deceptively simple building provides separation between different user groups, and delivers drama to accentuate the experience to be had of the location and setting. The building has been considered in its context, establishing an articulated landscape approach to provide level access to the upper level viewing gallery and a new pond area as a focus for the ground level education suite. Careful consideration has been given to the materials so that they weather consistently and compliment the natural habitat.
Tophill Low Nature Reserve is an active Yorkshire Water Treatment Works; it opened as a Nature Reserve in 1993 and features 12 hides spread across a 300 acre site that flanks the River Hull. The two reservoirs dominate the reserve and have SSSI status for their massive wildfowl numbers. Around the perimeter a network of marshes, ponds, woodlands and grasslands result in over one hundred and sixty bird species, with over 60 readily visible even in mid-winter.