From Great War planes to Owls… Channel 5 visits Maldon

The Stow Maries Aerodrome was given the film star treatment last week as the Channel 5 cameras showed Maldon’s wildlife beauty.

The Great War Aerodrome used to host planes fresh out of battle against German Zeppelin airships but now is home to a different breed of customer: Owls.

The site, which is the last of its kind in the UK, is a haven to all five British species of owl.

Someone who knows the site better than anyone is photographer Russell Savory, who first became involved with the site when he purchased it in 2008/09.

Russell Savory
“I would start at 4.30am and be finishing at 9pm”

Mr Savory, who features in the two-part instalment ‘The Secret Life of Owls, possesses over 300,000 wildlife images in his personal archive that he has built up from years of dedication.

On the show, he said: “To see it on television is amazing. An awful lot of time goes into it and it’s really nice to see the end product.”

“It’s such an interesting journey, the ups and downs of wildlife come across and I don’t want to spoil anything but there is even more to come in the second part of the documentary.”

Mr Savory, whose work regularly features on BBC’s Springwatch, One Show and Inside Out, commuted from Hertfordshire to the Aerodrome 7 days a week, for 9 years. This entailed a 2.30am start.

“I’ve filmed wildlife for 12-15 years… I would start filming at 4.30am and be finishing at 9pm, whilst carrying out work running the aerodrome throughout the day.”

“It’s important to catch first light. You need to be in a hide or a hedgerow waiting for the right moment.”

The documentary itself shows the owls living at the Aerodrome, something that is perhaps unknown to many and Mr Savory hopes that the documentary will inspire people, particularly younger people, to visit the aerodrome and more importantly to discover the beauty of wildlife.

The site boasts a fascinating history rich with tales of the Great War but now the documentary has shone a light on another side which is well worth seeing for yourself.


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