Swift pints at The Eels Foot Inn thanks to National Landscape grants


Drinkers at a Suffolk pub will soon be able to enjoy a ‘swift pint’….literally! For it is believed to be the only one in Britain to have its very own Swift Tower in the beer garden.

The eight-metre high construction, built from a felled cedar tree, in the garden of the Eels Foot pub, bordering the famous RSPB reserve at Minsmere, will house 47 nest boxes, allowing pubgoers to get a close up view of these much-loved birds, which are a priority species in the Suffolk & Essex Coast & Heaths National Landscape.

Funding has come from nature groups, companies, private individuals and grants from the Suffolk & Essex Coast & Heaths National Landscape, through the Galloper Wind Farm Fund, Community & Conservation Fund, and the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme.

The idea to build and site the tower at the Eel’s Foot came from Waveney Bird Club president Steve Piotrowski. The Eastbridge pub is well used by nature lovers including the presenters and crew from BBC’s Springwatch when they broadcast the popular series from Minsmere.

The tower will officially open in the first week of May which is around the time swifts arrive in Britain after their long-distance migration from Africa. They tend to nest in the eaves of buildings or in other suitable sites and while there are other swift towers in public parks and areas, this is thought to be the only one in a pub.

But swift numbers in the UK have declined in recent years, estimated to have fallen by 60 per cent since 1995 according to Breeding Bird Survey data and thought to be a caused by a combination of changing summer weather leading to a decline in their insect food and the continued loss of suitable nesting sites.

Steve Piotrowski said: “Swifts are an integral feature of a British summer. Their arrival signals summer is on the way while their agility in the air has inspired poets over the centuries. They are also very sociable so will not mind nesting in a beer garden full of people. In return, pubgoers will be able to enjoy the sound and spectacle as they enjoy a pint.”

A speaker will play swift calls to encourage the birds to nest in the tower while the project has been supported by the pub’s brewery owners, Suffolk-based Adnams.

Leave your comment