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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 February 2008, 06:52 GMT
Signal box is twitchers' new home
The new bird hide (picture: Joan Payne)
Branch line - the signal box is now a bird hide
A Victorian railway signal box which closed more than 40 years ago has been given a new lease of life as a hide for bird watchers.

Until recently it was used as a garden shed in Newbridge-on-Wye, Powys, but needed a 10,000 restoration.

The box was rescued by railway enthusiast John Wake who donated it to Radnorshire Wildlife Trust and it has been moved to Erwood near Builth Wells.

Cameras will be fitted to nest boxes so birdwatchers can watch from the hide.

Built in 1891, the signal box was used on the Cambrian line in Newbridge-on-Wye, but when the railway closed in 1962 it began life as a garden shed.

Used for storing hamster cages, among other things, it eventually became derelict and was on the verge of being broken up and burned before it was saved by Mr Wake.

Wildlife trust manager Julian Jones said: "We spent over 10,000 in grant money restoring the signal box and had it moved from Newbridge-on-Wye to Erwood.

"In fact, it stands on the site of the old Erwood signal box.

"We're going to attach a small camera to bird boxes so people in the hide can see birds like blue tits and great tits with their young," added Mr Jones.

"People will also have a good view of the River Wye from the hide and will see all sorts of different birds feeding there."

The signal box, painted in its original livery, was opened as a hide by BBC wildlife presenter Iolo Williams.

It is open daily at Erwood Station Craft Centre from 1000 to 1700 GMT.

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