Big Wild Walkers

Josh Hellon

Despite the wind and the rain, across Beds, Cambs and Northants - and further afield - last week many of us walked, counted steps and saw plenty of wonderful wildlife. Many thanks to everyone who joined in and supported us

From Monday 26 October to Sunday 1 November, joining in with a national Wildlife Trusts initiative, the Big Wild Walk took place. The aim was to walk daily, with a choice of three 'challenges' to take on (hedgehog - walk 3km daily; spotters - how many species can you see? and migration challenge - 96,000 steps, equating the kilometres an arctic tern travels).

Coinciding with half term week, many families signed up and fundraised for us; and we challenged ourselves to log our steps and mileage - could Team BCN collectively reach 303030 steps . . .? 

Our favourite feedback was from Caroline Stoker, whose sons Conor and Daniel, below, opted for the hedgehog challenge, walking 3km daily - the average distance a hedgehog covers foraging at night. The boys love hedgehogs and feed the regular hog visitors in their garden. Caroline says: "They braved the wind and the rain and also picked up litter on their walks (thanks boys - ed). On the final day, following their father's covid diagnosis they had to complete their challenge doing 250 lengths of the patio, scooting, skipping, running and hopping all afternoon." Together they raised a wonderful £208 for the Trust and we're very grateful. 

Team BCN also battled rain, mud and plenty of steep slopes while stock checking, scrub clearing or brush cutting. Dogs were walked, superb scenery enjoyed and appreciated - woodland rides, glorious bundles of autumn leaves, all shapes and forms of fungi, including the science fictional collared earthstar, lots of spindleberries, as well as several llamas . . . and plenty more besides.

It's astounding how far our reserves teams walk in a day, a week, and our staggering total (and this only a small percentage of staff) was well over two million steps! Mighty impressive. The main gist was to feel connected through walking, to feel connected to all taking part at a time when it's been so difficult to experience many connections, to really notice the wildlife that's around - and of course to bring the opportunity of supporting us in a different way. We are extremely grateful to all who took part and fundraised -  this is invaluable support and really goes a long way. 

And finally, at a time when it's more important than ever to be immersed in wildlife - keeeep walkin' . . .