New Milton Men’s Shed create bespoke House Martin Tower

Milford Conservation volunteers carried out a bird survey at our Downton Manor Farm quarry which revealed that there are now over 88 species of birds, 11 of those new to the area attracted by the freshwater lakes. Shortly afterwards, local conservationist Bob Lord approached us to ask if we would be interested in constructing and placing a House Martin Tower within the restored part of the quarry due to House Martin’s being identified within the survey.

Encouraging wildlife to thrive at Downton Manor Farm is a key part of NMSB’s strategy, added to the fact that House Martins are on the Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern, we were happy to try to do something to reverse this decline in numbers. However, carpentry is not really an area of specialism for the business, thus we engaged the skills and support of our amazing New Milton ‘Men’s Shed’ group to construct a bespoke House Martin Tower, and boy did they deliver!

House Martins generally build their nests on the outer walls of buildings, under the eaves, so the towers are designed to emulate this. The Men’s Shed worked over the winter months, patiently trying out prototypes and hand-crafting every aspect of the nesting box.

House Martin Hexagonal Towers
House Martin Tower Nests

The hexagonal towers have three layers, with starter nests attached for the House Martins to add to, creating a comfortable nest.

House Martin Tower Construction Team

They then started work on the real thing, built from larch wood from our Builder’s Merchant and a wet cement mix for the starter nests. Once the layers were built, the bitumen roof was put on and attached to a large pole, to be placed at Downton ready for the birds.

The tower was erected at the start of June 2023 by our fabulous site team (not an easy task).

We held a small ceremony to say thank you to all of those involved in the project. A little more work will be carried out to expose some mud on one of the lakes, and then we will wait to see if it is a worthy home to our House Martins. We will keep you posted!

House Martin Tower

Rob Flower, MD comments; “This has been such a lovely project to have been involved with. Not only meeting the Men’s Shed and learning more about what they do, but also creating another new habitat at our Downton quarry. Fingers crossed they will like the new home and we see some nesting birds over the next couple of years.”

Adrian Duckett, Chairman of New Milton Men’s Shed said “When we were asked whether we could help build a House Martin Tower, we immediately said Yes to making it, but that we might need some help putting it up! That’s where the site team at NMSB came in.”

“We like projects like this, that will challenge our member’s skills, and help the environment. Hopefully next breeding season there will be lots of House Martin’s nesting on it.”

Adrian Duckett and Rob Flower standing in front of House Martin Tower

Adrian Duckett, Chairman of New Milton Men’s Shed, and Rob Flower, MD, New Milton Sand and Ballast.

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