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Are you wild enough to take on the 39-mile Rothschild's Way Challenge?

Caroline Fitton, of the Wildlife Trust in Cambridgeshire, explains how you can take on The Rothschild’s Way Challenge

Rothschild bungalow. Image: Wildlife Trust (8836251)
Rothschild bungalow. Image: Wildlife Trust (8836251)

Despite coming from the wealthy Rothschild banking family, Charles Rothschild's abiding passion was for the natural world, and specifically for entomology. In an act of philanthropy in the early part of the 20th century he bought Wicken Fen which he donated to the National Trust in 1910, while at Woodwalton Fen (bought in 1912, now part of the Great Fen) he built a base for family and friends to hang out and experiment with natural history. The reserve is hugely significant as a cradle of conservation - from the base known as the Rothschild bungalow, it was here that the Society for the Protection of Nature Reserves was founded – which eventually became The Wildlife Trusts we know today.

Realising a century ago that various habitats in the country would come under future threat, in an act of foresight in 1915 he drew up a list of 284 sites across Britain that he considered suitable for preservation as nature reserves - some of which still exist today. The Rothschild List still informs modern day conservation, recognising prime areas of grassland, wet grassland, ancient woodland, etc; places to be preserved and fought for. A man before his time, he called for protection of individual species and whole habitats, and knew conservation policy had to be based on sound survey and research.

Dying in 1923, Rothschild did not see the fruits of his work, but his vision was the birth of a nationwide movement, and his legacy lives on today, and thanks to him the vision of conservation work at the Great Fen now continues. An annual walk (or challenge!) pays homage to the man as well as helping raise funds, with a 39 mile walk between Wicken Fen, ending at the Rothschild bungalow at Woodwalton Fen. Individual walkers or teams (recommended) can sign up in advance of the walk, this year taking place on Saturday 15 June. An achievement of significance in very significant footsteps . . . can you walk the walk?

Visit wildlifebcn.org/events/2019-06-15-rothschild-way-challenge.

Get ready to go 30 Days Wild!

30 Days Wild. Image: Wildlife Trust BCN (8836245)
30 Days Wild. Image: Wildlife Trust BCN (8836245)

30 Days Wild is the UK’s biggest, month-long nature challenge organised by The Wildlife Trusts, back for its fifth year. A celebration of everyday nature, an excuse to wallow in the wonderful wildness encountered at home, at work, at leisure and everywhere in between. The challenge is simple – can you do one easy and exciting wild thing a day, every day in June? 30 days, 30 wild things. 30 Days Wild!

These Random Acts of Wildness might involve eating lunch outside and watching butterflies flutter by; or listen to birds singing and seeing how many you can identify; or if it’s rainy learn something new about nature. Whether for a few seconds or a whole day, all that matters is making time for nature.

The Wildlife Trusts have worked with the University of Derby over the past four years and have proved that taking part in 30 Days Wild and spending time in nature can makes people healthier and happier, and this effect can last for months after, too. Building a stronger bond with nature also makes people even more determined to protect it; to paraphrase Sir David Attenborough: ‘we only look after the things we care about’.

30 Days Wild. Image: Wildlife Trust BCN (8836242)
30 Days Wild. Image: Wildlife Trust BCN (8836242)

Each Random Act of Wildness brings people closer to nature, and over the last four years of 30 Days Wild more than 10 million have been done - that’s 10 million times people have made space in their day to enjoy nature, to watch a bee bumble from flower to flower or a buzzard trace lazy circles in the sky.

Sign up for 30 Days Wild and receive a pack to help plan a wild June: a wallchart to write down wild ideas and a poster for inspiration; a booklet full of Random Acts of Wildness; sheet of stickers plus a packet of wildflower seeds to brighten up a garden or window box. Are you up for the challenge?

30 Days Wild. Image: Wildlife Trust BCN (8836210)
30 Days Wild. Image: Wildlife Trust BCN (8836210)

Sign up at wildlifebcn.org/30DaysWild.


Wildlife Trust River Roam, Trumpington Meadows, Saturday 27 April, 3-4.30pm

Amazing wildlife is in abundance along the banks of the Cam, from water voles and otters, kingfishers to insects. Join in a fun roam along the riverbank - there will be games, arts and crafts too! Aimed at 7 to 10-years-old and their families; older and younger children welcome, please mention when booking. Call 01223 665742 or email TrumpingtonMeadows@wildlifebcn.org

Visit wildlifebcn.org/events/2019-04-27-river-roam-wildlife-watch-family-event

Wildlife Trust Dawn Chorus Walk

A robin singing (8873987)
A robin singing (8873987)

Thursday May 2, 6am-8am, Trumpington Meadows

Join the rangers bright and early on this special guided walk to hear the unique joy of bird song in the early morning – the best count on previous walks was 43 bird species – can it be beaten this year? Hot drinks and croissants reward after the walk . . . £7.50 per person.

Call 01223 665742 or email TrumpingtonMeadows@wildlifebcn.org

Visit wildlifebcn.org/events/2019-05-02-early-morning-chorus-trumpington-meadows.

Wildlife Trust Brampton Wood Bluebells and Wildflower Walk

Sunday April 27 and Sunday May 5, 2.30-4.30pm

Spot woodland flowers and learn about the management of this beautiful ancient woodland. Call 077753 365507 or email alistairgrant@hotmail.com for further information

River Cam Wildlife Bat Punts – every Friday evening starting 10 May onwards

'The Best Bat Experience in the Country'! Writes Patrick Barkham in the Guardian.

Visit wildlifebcn.org/bat-punts. For details, departure times and to book visit Scudamore's website or call 01223 359750.

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