30Ks Wilder - raising funds for Avon Wildlife Trust

Back in August I became aware of the challenge instigated by Avon Wildlife Trust to raise funds for wildlife in our area by walking, running, swimming or cycling 30ks. As my volunteer role for our local group involves masses of computer based work, it was an opportunity to get out and spend more time exploring some wild spaces with the aim of also raising funds for the Trust. So I signed up.
Donate to my Challenge HERE - donations taken until Friday 8th October.

1st September arrived, and despite some family problems at that time, I set out on my first walk, around the Avon Wildlife Trust Grow Wilder site, Frenchay Common and Moor and in the afternoon AWT Willsbridge Valley, hence visiting two AWT sites in one day and achieving 7km towards my goal. 
Lots of lovely wild flowers, butterflies and bees, even an enormous hornet buzzed around me at one point. And the tranquility on Frenchay Moor was wonderful, a place to return to at some point.

Two days later saw me at Avon Wildlife Trust's Folly Farm, revisiting a site that is dear to me. In 2010 I attended a residential wildlife filming course at the centre, and this inspired my wildlife video work.

During the course of the day, I walked all the trails and more, some paths were difficult to follow and some gates were closed meaning I had to climb over (whoops!) but I managed 8.3km towards my goal. 
I also visiting Dowlings Wood close by, everywhere was so quiet, mine was the only car in the carpark and I didn't see a soul until 3 hours later! Lots to see and photograph, butterflies and other insects, wild flowers plus stuff that couldn't be photographed, several buzzards, a roe deer that I spooked in the woods, a rabbit, squirrels of course, 3 green woodpeckers and other birds that I didn't have time to ID.

My third walk on a lovely morning was exploring Bristol City Centre for its wild bits and there are a surprising number of these right in the centre, from Avon Wildlife Trust's Brandon Hill reserve and wild flower patch outside Bristol Cathedral to small patches of wildness between high rise apartments and alongside the waterfront. Another 9km towards my challenge, so I'm now over 24km and it's still only 6th September!
Here the highlights were not only wild flowers and insect life but also mallards and a moorhen on the floating pontoons covered in vegetation. 
Next was a reasonably flat walk of 11 km along the River Avon starting in Saltford and ending on the Bristol side of Keynsham before walking home. Highlight was the kingfisher (or was it more than one?) first streaking across the river, and then sat on a dead branch before diving into the water and disappearing down the river. I could so easily have missed both of these as I could only see the bird through binoculars when it was sat on the branch. Lots of dragonflies and butterflies including speckled wood (lots of these) a small copper which is a first for me. 
My next opportunity came after quite a bit of rain when I intended a walk through our local Stockwood Vale, down to the River Chew and home. However after twisting my ankle at Folly Farm (at the time it didn't seem bad) I discovered that due to bruising on the ankle bone I couldn't wear my high walking boots needed for the mud now around and so abandoned the walk. And then work started to load up and I found I had no time for walking!

Luckily we were visiting friends in Bude on the last weekend in September and so, although not local to Avon, we embarked on some lovely coastal walks and I added 22 km to my total during our stay.
One walk along the cliffs was determined by the tides and we were able to walk back along the beach into the town exploring the rocks and pools along the way. Masses of mussels, limpets and a few cockles living on the exposed rocks at low tide. 
Interesting to see the different flora of the coastline too, plant life that we don't get inland, designed to live in the salt environment. Plus at one point we had good views of a kestrel flying.
I finished with a shortened version of the walk postponed from earlier in the month through Stockwood Vale to Queen Charlton. Who knew there were so many horse chestnut trees there! Lots of conkers collected for the Christmas hangers I make in the Autumn!
Amazing flowering ivy near the start of the walk was absolutely heaving with wasps and bees.

Final total over 60km (approx 63km) - it's been a busy month for me, so achieving double my goal has been fantastic. Also the amount of money now raised, approx £550 including offline donations, has been wonderful. A huge thanks to everyone who has supported me. The donation line is still open until 8th October so please consider donating HERE if you haven't already done so. 
Kathy Farrell
October 2021
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Protecting wildlife for the future
Keynsham Group
Avon Wildlife Trust
Registered charity 280422

Email: keynshamawt@gmail.com