Monday 20th November 2018 A red letter day for Belvide. Following a decision by the Club’s Management Committee I was able to commission a fully compliant access ramp for our Scott Hide which will make this ‘reception’ hide open to all. This work will be completed during the spring of 2019. The stairs on the Gazebo hide will be replaced at the same time.
All improvements which have taken place during 2017 and 2018 have been reported on the Recent Improvements page.
March 25th 2017
We are happy to report that our long awaited EcoLoos are now open and in service. These toilets are phase one of the much larger project detailed below to make Belvide accessible to all, which has been made possible by the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery. If you are interested how these loos function click on the following link. Belvide toilet notices March 2017
March 2017 Update
Since the paragraphs below were written there has been a very exciting development. In the autumn of 2016 we applied to the People’s Postcode Lottery for support in making Belvide fully accessible to those with mobility restrictions and others for whom the lack of suitable toilet facilities curtailed or prevented their enjoyment of the reserve. Just before Christmas we heard that our bid had been successful and we had been awarded £20,000 (yes, that is the correct number of noughts!).
Project Name: West Midland Bird Club, Belvide Reserve – Equal Accessibility for all This project has three strands as detailed below.
The reserve has a hardcore path which runs from the car park through to the West end hide. Originally 1.2m wide, where it emerges from the woodland grass has encroached to narrow this to make it unsuitable for wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Strand 1: To restore this path to its original width.
Three bird hides have recently been added, all with full disabled access. Two are located along the main pathway but the third requires the path to be extended. Strand 2: To extend the main pathway by 360m through to the tarmac private driveway to enable access to the new hide and whole reserve for those with mobility restrictions.
Lack of suitable toilet facilities have curtailed visits for many including children from deprived areas. Strand 3: To install composting toilets, half way along the reserve pathway and in the car park to serve the needs of all reserve visitors.
Postcode Local Trust who awarded us this grant are entirely funded by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Our successful bid is an example of how the support of those player’s is making a huge difference to local communities.
This project has already begun. The toilets are ordered and due to be installed over the weekend of 17/18th March and the paths are due to be started in late April, given suitable ground conditions. If not they may have to be delayed until autumn to avoid the breeding season but all strands must be completed by the year end.
Completion of the project will be followed by press releases and P.R. activities to not only advertise the contribution made by PLT but also to promote these improved facilities for all who could benefit from them and this is where your help is requested.
1. Will you, or any other WMBC member you know of, benefit by these improvements? 2. Do you belong to, or know of, any other organisation with members of any age or ability for whom these improvements would make the reserve accessible and who could benefit from a group visit. 3. Do you have any other ideas for positive publicity for this project or can you help in any other way?
If the answer to any of the above is yes then please, please get in touch with Sue Judge at
Our Future Plans. The birding environment and facilities at Belvide have improved beyond measure over the last few years thanks to the vision and plans of former Reserve Manager Rob Swift which were taken on board and added to by the current Belvide Management team, supported, especially financially, by the WMBC executive committee. So where do we go from here?
The aim of the Belvide team is now to make the reserve accessible to all of the West Midland Bird Club membership. The most obvious shortcoming currently is the state of the main reserve pathway which although it was 1.2m in width when installed grass has gradually been allowed to encroach the edges reducing this width to single file and not at all suitable for wheelchairs or mobility scooters. Added to this our latest hide although fully accessible can’t be reached by wheelchair as it is along a route which is grassy and often muddy in winter. The next project that the Belvide team would like to undertake is to bring the original path back up to standard and to extend this through to the tarmac private driveway to allow access for all.
It has long been recognised that lack of toilet facilities at Belvide has acted to deter some members, particularly women and families from visiting the reserve. When planning permission was obtained for our Hawkeshutts Hide it was also applied for and granted for two fully accessible composting toilets, as installed at our Blithfield reserve, one to be located in the car park to replace the current portaloo which is unsuitable and inaccessible for many and the other to be located half way into the reserve alongside the gazebo hide.
Keep an eye on this page for news of these exciting developments at Belvide – or better still come along to our next team meeting, details on the get involved page, and find out more.