Suffolk: Home tweet home for the county’s birds

Dennis Humphrey preparing one of the bird boxes.

 Dennis Humphrey preparing one of the bird boxes.

Sunday, January 19, 2014
10:50 AM

It’s the kind of des res that could be home tweet home for any bird.

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Eric Simonds (right) and Dennis Humphrey with their amazing bespoke bird boxes.

 Eric Simonds (right) and Dennis Humphrey with their amazing bespoke bird boxes.

Ranging from replicas of historic water mills, to rockets, watches, over-sized tools and even a meticulously detailed punctured tyre – one Suffolk company’s vision of what a bird box can be is taking off.

But Eric ‘Simmo’ Simonds, of Finningham, near Walsham le Willows and Dennis ‘Den’ Humphrey of Gosfield, said their newly fledged business Out of Our Tree was a result of friendly competition and encouragement from relatives.

Mr Simonds, 52, said: “Den has always messed around with wood and I’ve always messed around with wood. He was making some unique bird tables and made one that was a little wooden crane. I said, ‘That’s a great idea Dennis, but I bet I can make something better’. Then he went one better and it all got a bit out of hand. That’s kind of how we got to where we are - it’s a competition, but it’s all done in jest and we have great fun doing it.”

He added the pair, friends since primary school, had been amazed by the response.

Eric Simonds (right) and Dennis Humphrey with their amazing bespoke bird boxes.

 Eric Simonds (right) and Dennis Humphrey with their amazing bespoke bird boxes.

“We had only been doing it for friends and relatives, but they were so excited about what we were doing they basically said, ‘You’ve got to get this stuff out and let people see it’. So we thought we would give it a go and it has been accepted so well by everyone we’ve put it infront of over the last nine months.”

But Mr Humphrey, 52, said the pair had between 50 and 60 different designs, with some of the more elaborate boxes and tables going for up to £2,500. Prices tend to start at £150 however and the guys are happy to discuss your ideas and budget.

“It’s a huge amount of work and a huge amount of oak. It can take up to four weeks to do a big table or bird box and English oak isn’t cheap.”

He added: “Our philosophy was, if someone has got a £1million house, do they want to put four pieces of pine with a wood screw in it and an old roof tile on the top? They don’t; they want something a bit swanky and a bit different.”

Eric Simonds and Dennis Humphrey with their amazing bespoke bird boxes.

 Eric Simonds and Dennis Humphrey with their amazing bespoke bird boxes.

Mr Humphrey, who still works as an electrical engineer, said the pair were looking into developing cheaper ranges but also wanted to tap into the celebrity market.

The business has also donated two high-end bird boxes to Suffolk Wildlife Trust for raffle. For more information contact outofourtree.co.uk

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