Why I'm pledging to walk 50,000 steps for wildlife

Are you taking part in Wild Walk Week? If you still aren't sure, our Individual Giving Officer, Vicki, is here to tell you why you should join us in walking one million steps for wildlife.

2020 has certainly been an interesting year. Seven months in and we are mastering balancing home schooling, working from home and social distancing. We have had to learn how to play again, with lots of family time, and we have discovered hidden paths in our local neighbourhoods as we took advantage of the one-hour exercise limit.

As the months have passed and some restrictions have eased, our enjoyment for walking has become a new constant. Many of us find ourselves wandering paths we never knew existed, finding hidden gems for solace and peace, and noticing the wildlife around us.

Vicki, our Individual Giving Officer, out for a local walk next to a green field

Vicki Lamb, your Individual Giving Officer, out for a wild walk

I am extremely lucky to live in a suburban city. I only need to take a short walk and I can either be walking along the river, along the canal or into the countryside. There are two nature reserves within three miles of my house, which I have taken advantage of during the lockdown period, often taking my binoculars and camera just in case something catches my eye.

One of my favourite walks in Lancaster takes in the footpaths around Fairfield. There are several footpaths which can make the walk longer or shorter. My mum used to walk these paths (the pads as she called them) when she was a girl, walking the greyhounds before school.

The pads have recently re-opened, thanks to the Fairfield Association, who have been developing this site since 1996. A five-minute walk from my house and I am soon on the footpaths of the pads, surrounded by green pastures, hedgerows and the sounds of chattering birds. The re-opened paths lead towards the Lancaster canal where kingfishers, mallards and the occasional goosander greet me.

A female goosander rising up out of the water and stretching her wings on a lake

Goosander by Richard Steel/2020VISION

A short walk along the canal takes me to the beginning of Fauna Nature Reserve. This peaceful wild place has been developed with such care, and the Fairfield Association has done amazing work in creating a wonderful space just on the outskirts of the city. I am greeted with hay meadows and grazing pastures for the White Park cattle (an ancient and endangered breed of cattle), carefully managed wetland which encompasses the Lucy Brook stream, and ponds and scrapes that encourage snipe, redshank, curlew and other wetland birds to breed and feed here. The ponds are also home to many dragonfly species and the flora attracts many bee and butterfly species. The paths link to the community orchards and the local allotments, linking up valuable habitats and allowing both humans and wildlife to live in harmony.

Unfortunately, wildlife is in tragic a state of decline. 26 per cent of the UK's mammals are at risk of extinction - including the much-loved hedgehog - while 41 per cent of our insect species face disappearing altogether.

We need to take drastic action to ensure wildlife has a chance to thrive again, which is why I'm taking part in Wild Walk Week. Between 24 – 30 August I pledge to walk 50,000 steps for wildlife, and am asking my family and friends to sponsor me. You can take part, too, by signing up to Wild Walk Week and pledging to walk for wildlife in your local area.

Take part in Wild Walk Week

The money raised during Wild Walk Week will be used to fund nature conservation on your doorstep: allowing us to look after nature reserves and precious fragments of wild space, protect and reintroduce rare species, and ensure that all wildlife in our region can thrive once more.

Wild Walk Week

Get ready to ramble

You don't have to trek up a mountain or ramble up hill and down dale to tot up your steps (though that will certainly help!) - absolutely anyone can take part in Wild Walk Week and every step counts.

Set up your JustGiving page

WildNet - Tom Marshall