Wednesday wellbeing walks


Every Wednesday, a group of walkers from a variety of backgrounds meets in Rye Harbour village at 9:45am to enjoy walking together. There are several walk leaders, from the Sussex Wildlife Trust Rye Harbour Nature Reserve volunteer team, who share their knowledge of the birds and the terrain. These weekly walks are free, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The walks are short and friendly, lasting between one and two hours, and usually ending at the Discovery Centre, so that walkers have the option for refreshments at the end.

Wellbeing Wednesday walking group

Jane Thomas, one of the leaders last week on Wednesday, January 25, described her involvement: “I have been volunteering since April last year. Our aim is that those who join us can benefit in a range of ways. Getting out in nature is good for all of us, both mentally and physically. For those who are looking to get more active, a weekly commitment of a just over an hour is good way of getting started and is suitable for all abilities. It also offers an opportunity to meet people and share experiences. It is also a great way to get to know more about the reserve and its wildlife; if we don’t know the answers, there is always someone at the centre who will! I volunteer for all the reasons above: I get to meet interesting people in a setting which is beautiful regardless of the weather, so I also feel happier at the end of the walk. I can share my love of birds with others, which is always a real privilege.”

Janet has joined the group a few times, enjoys coming and explained why: “I’ve walked approximately six times since Covid. I enjoy the exercise, the varied company and seeing the birds. I would recommend the walks as I have found them so beneficial to my wellbeing.”

Wednesday Wellbeing Walk

Mike Camier is also part of the volunteer team at the reserve and added: “I was born and brought up in Rye at my parents’ motor-cycle and cycle shop. I have seen many changes in and around the town. For most of my married life I have lived in and around Tenterden from where my wife comes. After working in Rye and for my parents, I took up teaching and taught for thirty years at Ashford College (formerly South Kent College).

“On retirement major decisions had to be made about the free time I now had. Sussex Wildlife Trust set up a history group last year at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, delayed because of the Covid pandemic. An old school friend and I decided to attend and we had a great time. From there I offered to volunteer and have helped out with the pill-boxes and the open day we had last autumn. I have also enjoyed helping with tours at Camber Castle, and a real highlight was working with the group and Stuart Angell to plot and discover graffiti in one of the gun bays in the castle. As part of the history group I undertook research and delivered a short lecture on Westlake Engineering and their link with Dan Gurney’s All American Racers F1 project from 1966 – 1968.

“I was offered induction and walk leader courses which I opted for along with first aid at work. Since the Christmas period I have been attending the Wednesday wellbeing walks (WWW) to gain experience. What do I get from helping? A sense of community, the opportunity to socialise and to give back to what I consider to be a great project in what I think is a very special part of the landscape. It gives me great solace and strength. I have met many interesting and knowledgeable people since volunteering.”

The benefits of the WWW include

  • Fresh air
  • Learning about the reserve and the work of the staff and volunteers
  • The regularity of the walks
  • Meeting new people
  • Covers all aspects of wellbeing, both mentally and physically

If you have not been before, do come along and find out for yourself on
Wednesday mornings, meeting at the shelter for the public conveniences in Rye Harbour at 9:45am. The bus from Rye arrives just beforehand, so it is easy to get there if you are not coming by car.

More information here

Image Credits: Kt bruce , Kathy Crowther .

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