After a month of walking on the wild side, and entrants flocking in their numbers to take part in the Walking with Wildlife competition, an initiative led by the Wildfowl & Wetland Trust (WWT), Mrs Eileen Saunders of North Baddesley, near Southampton, Hampshire, has scooped up the national prize and will be enjoying a three night stay at Westview Guesthouse near Hay-On-Wye, which provides fantastic walking opportunities around the surrounding Wye Valley. She will be able to enjoy walking in comfort as the prize also includes a pair of walking boots and a state-of-the-art rucksack, courtesy of Regatta.
The orienteering-style challenge, that took place throughout June, took entrants to the far flung corners of WWT’s nine wetland centre reserves, home to an abundance of beautiful and rare wildlife. The competition involved collecting a series of orienteering punch holes on a printed map at various locations around the grounds and reserves.
Mrs Saunders said “We had a wonderful day out at WWT Slimbridge. We only intended to stay for the morning, but we got so carried away with the walking challenge we stayed until 4 o’clock! It was a fantastic idea, and led us to parts of the centre we probably wouldn’t have uncovered otherwise. Slimbridge made for a fantastic day out, and I’m so thrilled to have won the competition, I’ve never won anything before.”
Walking with Wildlife month was designed to encourage people to get out and enjoy the warmer weather and experience the health and wellbeing benefits of gentle exercise combined with interacting with wildlife.
WWT wetland centres are the perfect place for a walk with wildlife. Discover and experience nose-to-beak encounters with a variety of exotic, rare and endangered species on a relaxing stroll at one of nine scenic locations. The trail took visitors along places such as the Wildflower and Orchid walk at WWT Slimbridge (Gloucestershire) to observe the flora and fauna in full bloom; the Evening Bat walk at WWT Arundel (West Sussex) gave visitors the chance to get close to the resident nocturnal pipistrelle bat colony; and both WWT Castle Espie (Northern Ireland) and WWT London (Barnes) offered guided walks that taught visitors how to forage and identify birds, animals and plants.
Throughout the remainder of the summer, and into the autumn, WWT centres will be continuing to offer events, guided walks and promotions, with every WWT centre hosting excellent restaurants and gift shops. Plus all have family friendly and disabled facilities. So head down to your nearest WWT wetland centre and feel the benefits of immersing yourself in nature and celebrate the great outdoors.
Visit in the autumn when you can witness one of nature’s most awe inspiring wildlife spectacles: the migration of millions of birds who fly thousands of miles from their summer breeding grounds to winter in the UK. As the season peaks, visitors can witness amazing wildlife spectacles as huge flocks of wintering birds gather for regular feeds at many WWT centres. Some of the best experiences of the season.
For full details of all the activities and events on offer during summer and into the autumn at WWT centres, visit www.wwt.org.uk.© Phil Pickin
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