In the last few weeks, I have taken on a personal ‘Big Wildlife Walk’ challenge. The idea was to circle the whole of the old Avon County in celebration of forty years of the Trust’s work, and to raise awareness, support and resources for its bold push to get 30% of land and seas in our region into management for nature recovery by 2030.
I walked ten to twelve miles a day for fourteen days on a 150-mile route, visiting as many wildlife habitats and Avon Wildlife Trust (AWT) nature reserves as I practically could. I used public transport to get to and from the starts and ends of each walk as often as I could, and mostly succeeded!
The walk started at AWT’s headquarters in Bristol. I then headed out to the River Severn, taking in the Severn Vale; the Cotswold Hills; the river valleys around Bath; the Chew Valley; Mendip Hills; Severn Estuary coastline; the North Somerset Levels and the Gordano Valley, before returning to the city.
It has been an amazing experience, and all without going far from home! Avon has so many different landscapes and wildlife habitats (I counted twenty-five), meaning virtually no two days were the same.
My local walking adventure threw up some surprises. My intended route along the Severn Way path was blocked by flood defence works and I had to make an emergency detour. Friends I have not seen for a decade appeared at the last minute to accompany me along the Avon Valley, while fellow AWT volunteers met me on Dolebury Warren with supplies of cake.