Wildlife photography hides in the UK
If you want to get close to and photograph wildlife without disturbing it, try renting a photography hide. In this article, we share some of the hides available to rent around the UK, which species you can expect to see, the best times to visit them, and how much they cost to rent out.
The hides featured here only offer the opportunity to photograph wild animals. Some of these hides put out food for the animals, such as seed, nuts or meat. None of these hides provide live bait or allow the use of flash photography at night time, practices that are generally frowned upon by wildlife photographers and usually banned by major wildlife photography competitions.
Wildlife photography hides are available around the world, and this article focusses on those in the UK. Prices are quoted from the websites, and are correct as of June 2021.
What are wildlife photography hides?
Wildlife photography hides differ from the normal wildlife watching hides that can be found on most nature reserves and country parks. Customers are able to pay for a session in the hide, either alone or in conjunction with another photographer.
Sometimes the owners of hides are able to provide advice on photographing wildlife from their hide, and in some cases, additional tuition can be provided for a fee.
Wildlife photography hides to rent in the UK:
Badger Photography Hide, Cairngorms, Scotland
A dedicated hide for photographing badgers, this photography hide is run by Speyside Wildlife. The hide is open during summer months, opening an hour before dusk and badgers are normally present for a maximum of three hours.
There is a short walk, less than 5 minutes on a wide track and then a downhill path, from the meeting point to the hide. A shelf and screw fitting for tripod head are incorporated.
The cost is £100 for one night, the hide is ideal for one photographer, but can fit two.
Red Kite Photography Hides, Powys, Wales
The Gigrin Red Kite Feeding Centre in Rhayader is open to the public, but also has a number of specialist photography hides available to hire. These hides are built at different heights, can accommodate varying numbers of people, and have different fees:
- The Gateway Hide: two people, £20 per person.
- The Tower Hide: two people, £25 per person.
- The Big Tower Hide: four people, £30 per person.
- The Low Level Hide (only recommended for experienced photographers): two people, £35 per person.
Woodland Wildlife Hide, Cumbria, England
A focal length of 300-600mm is advised, and gimbel heads are provided if you don't have your own tripod. The side window does require a tripod. The hide is a short walk (5-10 minute) from the car park, along a rough track and up a small hill.
The cost is £100 for one photographer, or £160 for two photographers together (£80 each).
Pied Flycatcher Hide, Cumbria, England
These are two pop-up hides, also run by Wild Intrigue at RSPB Haweswater in the Lake District National Park, but focussed exclusively on pied flycatchers, which are being monitored as part of the BTO's Nest Record Scheme.
The two pairs of pied flycatchers successfully raised their chicks, and these hides are now closed until next year.
A focal length of 300-600mm is advised, and a tripod is required. The walk up to the hide is along a rough track and up a small hill, which is often wet and muddy. Wellies are highly recommend for the walk in.
More like this
The cost is £120 for one photographer.
Woodland Hides, Norfolk, England
This woodland hide is run by David Tipling Photography, and is located three miles from Fakenham. It can be used to photograph woodland birds, and sometimes mammals such as stoat and deer.
The star species that visits daily is the sparrowhawk, but a variety of birds can visit including buzzard, jay, great spotted woodpecker and green woodpecker.
The best time to visit for abundance and diversity of bird species is early in the year between January and April. The rest of the year can be a bit slower, but the summer months do provide opportunities to photograph bathing birds.
The cost is £90 per day, and the hide fits a maximum of two photographers at a time.
Buzzard Hide, Derbyshire, England
Run by Peak Nature, this hide is situated on farmland on the outskirts of the market town of Wirksworth, Derbyshire. The buzzards are supplied with food on a staggered schedule, so as not to habituate them, and occasional appearances are also made by red kites, ravens and foxes.
Other than buzzards, red kites, ravens and foxes make occasional appearances.
The best times to visit is autumn and winter (the hide is open between October to April) when the buzzards' natural food supply is scarcer and so they use the hide to supplement their diet.
The cost is £100 for one photographer, or £150 for two photographers together (£75 each). The capacity of the hide is 2 people.
Kestrel Hide, Yorkshire, England
The hide is run by Les Gibbon Photography, and overlooks a breeding pair of kestrels located in a beautiful flowering meadow. It is open year round, however the best times to visit are in late spring and summer when the adults are feeding the hungry chicks.
The cost is £100 for one photographer, or £80 each for two or three photographers booking together.
The main hide is a permanent wooden structure with two pop up canvas hides, one either side of the main hide, giving each photographer their own space to work.
The hide owners recommend a 500mm lens and solid tripod. When photographers arrive on site, help can be given with useful hints and tips on getting the most out of the session.
Horn Mill Osprey Hide, Rutland, England
This purpose-built hide is located on a working fish farm called River Gwash Trout Farm, and is open from April to August when ospreys have migrated from Africa to breed in the UK.
Other wildlife can also be seen sometimes, such as kingfishers, grey herons, red kites and buzzards.
The cost is £80 for one photographer per session (dawn to 8.30am or 4.30pm to dusk), and the hide fits up to six people.