Roger, 62, who is the chair of trustees for Curlew Action, wanted to find out more about Derbyshire Dales District Council's ongoing biodiversity project and spent time talking to Council Community Development Officer Emma Mortimer and members of the Hartington Wildflower Group. They showed him five sites they are managing.
Roger is part of the team that first set up the charity Help for Heroes. He has been a soldier, a charity worker and is now an author. He will be writing a book about his walk - to be published in March 2023 by Icon Books - and the Derbyshire Dales is one of 11 linked biodiversity restoration projects he is visiting along the way.
In October 2020 the Council recognised the need to redress the dramatic loss of wildflower meadows and continued loss of plant species from roadside verges and insect populations due to changes in management.
Working with parish councils and community groups, the Council initially identified 12 pilot sites - a number that increased to 15 - where verges and public open spaces were cut at the end of February or early March, then scarified to create bare patches to give seeds already in the soil the space and light to germinate. Community groups also sowed seeds themselves.
The verges were then left uncut until the end of August - and during the summer more than 55 different flowering plants were identified, ranging from common dandelions and buttercups to four species of orchid.
In the second year of the project the Council is working to increase biodiversity on larger areas of land on its parks and open spaces.
Roger's goal for his walk is to raise £75,000 for curlew conservation. He said:
“I’m basically walking 20 miles a day, every day for eight weeks, with the occasional day off for rest. But the effort is needed, and is worth it, if we want to save what is precious in nature for our children.
“I have always been happier to support the charitable efforts of people who are going the ‘extra mile’ than those who keep well within themselves. The way I look at it, if I am prepared to put my 62 year old body through a bit of punishment for a couple of months, it might inspire people not just to donate, but also to learn a bit more about what we do, and what we all need to do to save the curlew.”The donation page for Roger's walk is available at www.curlewaction.org/1000milewalkforcurlews
Pictured above: Roger Morgan-Grenville (left) meeting member sof the Hartington Wildflower Group.