river eden trust ‘source to sea’ charity walk

On 1st September Simon Johnson, Director of Eden Rivers Trust, and I will commence a fund-raising walk along the entire length of the River Eden. The 80+ mile walk, lasting four days will raise funds for Eden Rivers Trust’s conservation and education projects. A dawn start sees in day one on the 1st September at Mallerstang, the source of the Eden and over the ensuing four days friends, family and supporters are expected to join the intrepid pair as they make their way towards the Eden’s finish at the Solway Firth.

The walk will be roughly split into four sections (to be confirmed) and will be conducted on a mixture of footpaths, bridleways, quiet lanes and private land, where permission has been granted:

Day 1 – Mallerstang – Appleby
Day 2 – Appleby – Penrith
Day 3 – Penrith – Wetheral
Day 4 – Wetheral – Solway Firth

During the walk Simon will be introducing me first-hand to some of the key issues that affect the wildlife and ecology of the river. The itinerary will take in some ‘hands-on’ ERT conservation tasks, including a survey to hunt for the internationally rare White Clawed Crayfish and a to get ‘down and dirty’ at a local community river clean-up event! The walk will also focus on meeting members of the community who rely on a healthy river environment to support recreational and economic purposes.

We are aiming to raise as much money as possible to support ERT’s environmental education initiative ‘Rivers in the Classroom’ which to date has worked with nearly 5000 school children along the river valley.

Simon Johnson, Director of ERT, said: “I am really excited to be undertaking this fundraising walk with Rory. The walk not only offers a special opportunity to see a river in its entirety but also for Rory to learn first-hand about some of the major issues affecting the wildlife, ecology and people of this truly iconic river.”

I have been looking forward to this walk for months. It will come at the end of a Summer that, for me, has been made memorable by the people of Penrith and the Border and the landscape they inhabit; these are the two constants that make this constituency so special. It seems fitting to end my first Summer as an MP walking the length of this extraordinary river; 80 miles long, with 184 different species of plants and flowing through the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales National Parks, the North Pennines, the Solway Coast AONB, and the World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall. This is arguably the jewel in our crown, and it will be a great privilege to meet the people along the way who – as I am – are proud to speak of the Eden Valley as their home. With Simon’s help I hope to raise awareness of its importance, and funds to contribute to its longer-term survival, and look forward to welcoming anyone who would like to join us on the walk.

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