26 January 2012

Walking in the footsteps of Charles Dickens!

I met up for a coffee and a chat earlier today with Rolf Williams from the RSPB.

He told me all about a special walk taking place at the RSPB Northward Hill nature reserve on Thursday 2 February - in celebration of Charles Dickens and his association with the peninsula.

In the week that we'll be celebrating Dickens’ 200th birthday, the RSPB is offering unique access to a part of the marsh at Northward Hill that is normally closed to the public.

The walk will be a 3 mile round trip, taking in the heart of the grazing marsh that was the inspiration for the opening scenes of ‘Great Expectations’.

There will be a chance to look at local wildlife habitats and some interesting buildings, and I know Rolf and his team will be able to give insights into the natural history of the area along the way.

Rolf has told me those taking part might be lucky enough to see marsh harrier, lapwing, buzzard (possibly the rare rough-legged buzzard) and Northward Hill’s iconic grey heron.

This walk seems a great opportunity to learn more about the story of the Thames marshes and the complex mix of nature and human intervention spanning thousands of years.

So it won't just provide information about the wildlife, as there will be recitals marking different periods of the area’s past, present . . . and future!

The walk will start at 10am at the main car park at Bromhey Farm. Too early? All for those who prefer their fresh air in the afternoon, the walk will be repeated at 1pm.

Please don’t forget to wear stout footwear, preferably wellies or walking boots. And wrap up warmly, as it can get very windy out on the marsh even if it seems generally mild.

So, what are you waiting for?

Sign up by contacting Rolf and the RSPB team by ringing 01634 222480 or send an email here.

Please note: The ticket price for this event will be £6 for adults and £5 for children. RSPB members receive the discounted rate of £2. Anyone who decide to join the RSPB on the day will receive a full refund.