Hertfordshire's leading wildlife conservation organisation has unveiled plans to aid the recovery of one of Britain’s most beautiful birds.

The work, which has been taking place at Stocker’s Lake Nature Reserve, near Rickmansworth, aims to entice ospreys to nest in Hertfordshire.

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust (HMWT) has installed a special nesting platform at the nature reserve which it manages on behalf on the site’s owners, Veolia Water.

Tim Hill, Conservation Manager for HMWT said “We’re hopeful that we can encourage ospreys to come to Hertfordshire as a more permanent resident.

"This will give future generations the opportunity to see this wonderful creature on their doorstep.”

The 30 foot high nesting platform will imitate the nests the bird uses in the wild, and the aim is that males will spot it on their return from West Africa next spring.

Paul Outhwaite, RSPB, said: “I've seen similar structures in Scotland and they worked. These things do have a positive effect.”

Ospreys were once widespread in Britain, breeding across the entire country, but by 1842 they were extinct due to hunting, persecution from trout farmers and loss of suitable habitat.

In the 50s and 60s slowly recovering numbers were further hit by pesticides widely in use in farming.

No ospreys have nested or bred south of Leicestershire for over 150 years, so the project will give people in Hertfordshire a chance to see the magnificent bird with its six foot wingspan.

The Trust now hopes to secure more funding to enable platforms to be installed at other reserves in the County.

Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust is a charity dedicated to protecting wildlife for future generations by safeguarding and managing 43 Nature Reserves across the two counties.

For more information telephone 01727 858901 or Email info@hmwt.org.