In the 18th century, birdwatching was a recreational activity
enjoyed mainly by aristocrats. More recently however, birding has become a popular form of
ecotourism and a hobby enjoyed by millions of people around the
The Four Seasons Hotel
Hampshire has joined forces with world renowned optik creators
Swarovski, to ensure guests get to fully enjoy the beautiful 500
acre (200 hectare) estate that has attracted the growing attention of
professional and amateur birdwatchers alike.
Swarovski celebrates its 70th anniversary this year,
and first started producing binoculars in 1949.
selected for birdwatching, guests will be issued with a set of
Swarovski CL Companion binoculars before being guided by
ornithologists Keith Betton or John
Clark through the estate.
The walks begin at the hotelís historic Manor House,
dating back to 1728, and take a total of 1-1.5 hours.
Living in Hampshire all his life, John has
published a number of renowned bird titles, including Birds of the
Hants/Surrey Border and the Hampshire Bird Report, before becoming
a County Bird Recorder, an office he held until 2009. He is
currently working on a new edition of Birds of Hampshire and has
now seen almost 8,500 species around the world.
Equally passionate, Keith is a keen world
birder, having seen more than 8,000 species in more than 100
countries. He has been a Council Member of both the RSPB and the
BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) and is currently Vice
President of the latter.
The new bird walks add to the hotelís
already wide variety of activities on offer to guests including
fishing, croquet, tennis, clay pigeon shooting, falconry, cycling
and an Highwire Adventure. Top-notch golf is a stoneís throw away
while guests can also explore the Basingstoke Canal bordering the
estate grounds on the hotelís barge. The estateís original 18th
century stable block is home to a luxurious spa, a 20-metre (65
foot) indoor conservatory swimming pool, an outdoor vitality pool
and the hotelís new family adventure pool, Sharkieís Reef.
Prices for the bird walks start from GBP 150 for groups up to four people.
Advance booking is required.