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New walk launching in Goole

To celebrate East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Walking for Health programme turning 20 this year, the Health and Wellbeing Team are working in partnership with the RSPB Blacktoft Sands Nature reserve in Goole.

The first nature walk and talk will take place on Monday, 5 June, meeting at the RSPB Nature Reserve:  DN14 8HR. Walks will take place on the first Monday in the month, with the last one on 4 September, when they will cease for the winter. Each will last an hour, with refreshments to finish.

The walk will start at 10am – participants should arrive at 9.45, and meet at the Visitor Centre on site.

Blacktoft Sands nature reserve is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. It is located on the south bank of the river Ouse, where the waterway widens to become the Humber Estuary. This magical reserve hosts a diverse population of waders, warblers, and raptors, which can be easily spotted from the accessible trails and hides.

Darren Johnson, the Community Engagement Officer, will be leading the walks. He explained about the conservation of the area:

“The habitats are looked after in a way that creates the ideal conditions for wildlife. The reedbeds, the second largest in the UK, are grazed by ponies and we cut areas back to create a mosaic of reeds at different heights and ages. We also create and maintain pools hidden in the reeds.

“The water levels of the slightly salty lagoons inside the reedbeds are managed to create the best conditions for breeding and wintering wildfowl, including up to 40 pairs of avocets. Migrating birds also stop by in spring and autumn.

“Cattle and sheep, as well as ponies, roam the 32 acres of grazing marsh. This keeps it in a good condition for waterfowl and waders, including large numbers of wintering lapwings and golden plovers.”

Darren is also proud to announce that the East Coast wetlands have been tentatively nominated to become a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Everyone is welcome on the walk, no matter what age or ability; however, due to the nature of the reserve, some of the walks will include some steps and uneven surfaces. No specialist equipment is needed but comfortable shoes/trainers are recommended, that walkers do not mind getting a little bit muddy. Walkers should bring their own binoculars if possible, but some are available on site if required. Due to the wildlife and birds nesting, dogs are not allowed on site.

East Riding Walking for Health offers 22 different walk locations, offering a variety of lengths, supported by a team of friendly, specially trained volunteers who are on hand to provide encouragement and support, and make sure no one gets left behind.

Sue Smethurst, Health, and Wellbeing coordinator, says:

“Getting out and walking in the fresh air amongst nature helps to improve our health and mental well-being, especially with the busy lives that most of us lead. It also gives us a greater understanding of the part that animals and plants play in preserving the eco-system of our planet and maintaining the natural environments that provide food, shelter, water, and other functions, for wildlife and people.

East Riding Health Walks welcomes new walkers throughout the year. Over 70 walks take place each month, starting from a variety of locations.

To walk with any of East Riding’s Health Walk groups or train as a volunteer walk leader, please contact Sue Smethurst by phone 07770881178, or email sue.smethurst@eastriding.gov.uk.

See the full programme and find out about other health walks in the area by visiting http://www2.eastriding.gov.uk/leisure/sport-and-play/clubs-and-activities/activities-for-adults/

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