Walk and talk along the Dee Estuary

Curlew c. Amy Lewis

Travel writer, the Bald Hiker otherwise known as Paul Steele, is swapping his usual foreign jaunts for something closer to home this week when he embarks on a coastal walk of the Dee Estuary. Along the way he will be talking to people to understand their aspirations for this special place to guide future projects.

The walk is the brainchild of the Tidal Dee Catchment Partnership, hosted by Cheshire Wildlife Trust, who are seeking to find out people’s views on the Estuary – from why they enjoy it and how they use it through to how they feel things can be improved. The walk will start on Wednesday 28th March at Barkby Beach, Prestatyn and will follow the Wales Coast path until Hawarden Bridge, to finish in Hoylake on Friday 30th March, after passing through Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s Red Rocks Marsh Nature Reserve. The Partnership are calling for people to join Paul along the walk to share with him why this area is so important to the community.

“We are so pleased that Paul is part of this project – he will help us to raise awareness of the issues and needs of this area not just for wildlife but also for the community. The more passionate people are about their favourite wild places the easier it becomes to ensure important places like the Dee Estuary remain protected and are improved for both people and wildlife,” said Sarah Bennett, Area Manager at Cheshire Wildlife Trust.

A number of volunteers will be walking with Paul along with Councillor Pat Kynaston, Mayor of Neston Town Council who will be walking with Paul on Friday morning.

On the border between Wales and England, the Dee Estuary is a wildlife haven. Its populations of waders and wildfowl make it one of the most important estuaries in Europe. As well as the birds, you can also find sand lizards and natterjack toads calling the Estuary home. Its importance for wildlife means that the Estuary is internationally protected.

Dee Estuary sign by dock

Dee Estuary sign by dock

Cllr Carolyn Thomas, Cabinet member for Streetscene and Countryside at Flintshire County Council says "Our coastal path is a fantastic place to walk and cycle while taking in far reaching views of the changing and varied landscape from industrial to areas rich in history, heritage and biodiversity. One of my favourite parts is walking from Flint Castle along the old docks towards the Milwr tunnel. In Spring, the area is abundant in wildflowers. The Flintshire section of the path is managed by our coastal rangers who work with community groups, businesses and organisations and have over the past years been able to use grant funding for signs and sculptures depicting the history of the area for visitors to see how it has changed over the years. I hope that Paul enjoys walking round the wild and wonderful landscape of the Dee Estuary and that people are able to join him to share their favourite places.”

Paul Steele is founder and editor of the Bald Hiker website where he blogs about his hiking expeditions all over the world. An important part of his storytelling takes place through social media where his growing Twitter followers can vicariously travel the world through his pictures and learn about Paul’s experiences trying out new technology.

Natterjack toad c. Philip Precey

Natterjack toad c. Philip Precey

The Environment Agency, Natural England, the Dee Estuary Conservation Group, the RSPB, North Wales Wildlife Trust, Wirral Council, Flintshire Council, Welsh Dee Trust, Natural Resources Wales, and Cheshire Wildlife Trust are all partners within the Tidal Dee Catchment Partnership, working together on the Dee Estuary.

People can follow the walk online, as Paul will be posting films, photos and information about his journey on social media using #DeeEstuaryWalk