TIME IS RUNNING OUT for anyone interested in taking part in this year’s Sunderland BIG Walk.
The walk is the last of the Sunderland BIG events programme for 2013 and takes place on Sunday 22 September, anyone wishing to take part can pre-register by Friday 13 of September, alternatively, entries will be accepted on the morning of the event from 9.00am.
Starting at the National Glass Centre there are two routes taking in some of the best natural scenery and historic sites the city has to offer, a 6.5 mile walk ending at WWT Washington Wetland Centre and an 11.5 mile walk which ends on the city’s most famous landmark, Penshaw Monument.
Following the north bank of the river wear, the route passes through “Timber Beach” named after the area which was once used to store wood for the shipbuilding industry. It is now known for its salt marsh which is a rare habitat in the North East and home to birds such as Redshank, Curlew and Dunlin, and plant life such as Fragrant Orchid, Carline Thistle and Yellow-Wort.
Councillor John Kelly, Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture said: “This year the Sunderland Big Walk begins at the newly refurbished National Glass Centre on the banks of the Wear, and will then take in our fabulous riverside and some of the many and varied habitats for wildlife that we have in our City
“The event gives participants a great opportunity to spend time walking through areas of salt marsh and mature woodland in the North Hylton area and on to managed areas and grassland around the Victoria Viaduct and Cox Green. I urge anyone who is interested to make sure they have a place reserved by handing their application form in before next Friday.”
WWT Washington Wetland Centre, where the shorter route ends is part of the Wildfowl & Wetland Trust, founded by Sir Peter Scott, son of the famous explorer Sir Robert Scott, or ‘Scott of the Antarctic’ as he is better known.
Gill Pipes, Manager of WWT Washington, said: “It is great to have a fun but challenging event for the entire family. Hopefully the walkers will appreciate the wide range of habitats that they can find along the way and the wide range of wildlife that they support. Here at WWT Washington as well as our fantastic collection of birds from around the world, we also have a wide range of habitats too, from mature oak woodland and managed grasslands to reed beds, lakes and saline lagoon.”
After crossing Fatfield Bridge walkers will follow the trail past James Steel Park, and could catch glimpses of Thrushes, Yellowhammer, Cormorant and Gray Herons, before the final section of the walk up to Penshaw Monument.
The Monument is a folly dedicated to John George Lambton, first Earl of Durham and the first Governor of the Province of Canada and the woods on the north side of the hill on which it is built provide a home to Whitethroat, Nuthatch and Treecreeper as well as Common Blue butterflies, Birdsfoot Trefoil and Lords and Ladies.
After the BIG Walk all walkers will receive a medal and a goody bag. Included in the walkers guide is a voucher for 50% off admission price for participants at WWT Washington Wetlands Centre between Sunday 22 September and Sunday 3 November 2013 (see voucher for rems and conditions). A shuttle bus service will take walkers back from Herrington Country Park and WWT Washington Wetland Centre to the National Glass Centre where they can re-charge their batteries in their 7 Brassiere with the special walkers’ menu.
For more information and an application form please call into any Wellness Centre across the city or visit www.activesunderland.org.uk. Here you can find event terms and conditions, advice on what to bring on the day, dog walking and other Sunderland BIG Walk information.