Phoenix Hide rises from the ashes of devastating fire at nature reserve

A stunning new nature reserve hide has been officially opened, rising from the ashes of the former building that burnt down last year.

By Stephen Wilkie
Friday, 6th May 2022, 4:01 pm

Nature lovers were devastated when Mill Hide at Loch Leven National Nature Reserve (NNR) was destroyed in a fire in February 2021.

A crowdfunding appeal to rebuild it raised almost £30,000 and the remainder has been funded by NatureScot, which manages much of the NNR.

NatureScot chair Mike Cantlay and reserve manager Neil Mitchell were joined by the Kinross Beavers, as well as representatives from the local community and businesses, to cut the ribbon and officially open the new Phoenix Hide to the public on Friday.

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The Mill Hide at Loch Leven National Nature Reserve which was destroyed by fire last year.

Mr Cantlay said: “To see the new Phoenix Hide rise from the ashes has been wonderful, and it just would not have been possible without the incredible efforts of the local community, businesses and the wider public. Today we want to thank each and every one for making this day possible.

“The level of support has been truly heart-warming and demonstrates the importance of this special place for nature for the local community and beyond.

“As Scotland’s nature agency, our aim is to inspire many more people to value our natural world, and I know that this beautiful new hide will play a vital role in doing that for generations to come.”

The hide has been designed with a more open back to discourage anti-social behaviour and includes a new camera to record any incidents.

The Phoenix Hide offers stunning views down the length of Loch Leven

NatureScot’s Neil Mitchell, the reserve manager who oversaw the hide rebuild, said: “When the Mill Hide was destroyed last year we were all absolutely devastated.

“After the fire, what really came through was what a much-loved place it was for people near and far to come and connect with nature.

“We were determined to do all that we could to rebuild the hide and can’t express how grateful we are to the local community, businesses and visitors who contributed so generously to making it happen.

“The new building looks wonderful and I’m sure staff and locals alike are all looking forward to having this special place back again.

The new hide at Loch Leven National Nature Reserve which has been officially opened, rising from the ashes of the old building that burnt down last year