The Curlew Walk - 500 miles for curlews

by marycolwell1 in Bristol

We did it
On 1st March 2016 we successfully raised £3,767 with 131 supporters in 28 days

On April 21st I set out on a 500 mile walk to raise money and awareness about the decline of curlews. Please help me to help curlews.

by marycolwell1 in Bristol

I am a radio and TV producer and writer, specialising in nature and the environment. On April 21st I will set out on a 500 mile walk from the west of Ireland to the east of England to raise funds and awareness about the decline of curlews.  I estimate this will take me 6 weeks.  This appeal is to support me to launch the walk.  I am doing this unpaid and alone.  The money will be used for planning, research and logistics, and to keep me going when it gets underway.  Once I am walking, all money and fundraising will go directly to curlew recovery projects.

Why am I doing this?

Curlews are beautiful birds. They have a haunting call which encapsulates the wildness of the meadows, marshes and uplands of the British Isles.  For generations they have inspired poets, writers and artists, as well as brought joy to anyone who hears them.  Yet today their numbers are declining at an alarming rate - so much so they are now on the red list of endangered species in the UK.  Over the last 20 years Ireland has seen a 90% fall, Wales 80% and on average 50% through England and Scotland.

© Richard Steel:

I want to do something to help and so I am asking for money to support me to do the walk as effectively as possible.  There is a lot to do in the following few weeks if I am going to really contribute to curlew conservation. I also need support for me over the 6 weeks I am walking.  

I want to make this walk a big success.

As I cross the British Isles I will give talks as well as media interviews.  I will also interview scientists, conservationists, artists, musicians, poets, farmers, walkers - anyone who is inspired by the curlew and the beautiful places it inhabits. All this information will be collated and I will blog, facebook and tweet as I go.  

Please note this will be a positive walk - celebrating curlews and what they have given us - no doom and gloom - and there is still time to help them recover.


Glenwherry - an RSPB curlew recovery project area in Northern Ireland.  © Neal Warnock

I would therefore be very grateful for any help you can give me to help curlews.  And of course, by helping curlews we will be helping lots of other wildlife too.

A ringing and tracking project in Shropshire to help monitor young curlews. © Tony Fox

Curlew recovery projects are getting underway right now across Britain.  Once I am walking I will be raising money directly for these different ventures, which are being run by organisaitons such as the RSPB, the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology), Birdwatch Ireland, the Wildlife Trusts, the National Trust and various partnership schemes. I hope  that curlews can turn the corner and once more have sustainable and thriving populations.  

If you happen to be near my route (see below) - please join me for a while or just say hello. If I am in your area and you'd like a talk about the walk and what is happening to curlews please get in touch.

So, to get me underway and keep me walking, please help me to help curlews and support this Curlew Walk.  With all the set-up involved, £16 will propel me a mile.

Thank you very much indeed.

Mary (


Here is my route so far - more visits and talks being added as I find out more. If anyone can offer me a sofa/bed for the night, or a cup of tea and sandwich along the way, I would be very grateful.

Ireland (N and R)

Day 1 - Thursday 21st April

Enniskillen, Lough Erne – to Swanlinbar (11.7 miles). Picked up by Michael Bell and driven to Sligo for a talk.

O/N Sligo.


Day 2 – Friday 22nd April

Dropped at Ballinamore walk to Lough Rynn castle (13 miles)

O/N Lough Rynn


Day 3 – Saturday 23rd April

Lough Rynn to Longford (15 miles)

O/N Longford


Day 4 – Sunday 24th April

Rest Day O/N Longford.


Day 5 – Monday 25th April

Longford – Cloonsheerin Bridge (Royal Blue Way) pick up the Royal Canal Way to Ballymahon (9 miles)

O/N Ballymahon


Day 6 – Tuesday 26th April

Ballymahon – Ballynacarrigy (14 miles)

O/N Ballynacarrigy


Day 7 – Wednesday 27th April

Ballynacarrigy – Mullingar (13 miles)

Picked up by Birdwatch Ireland and taken to visit Shannon Callows.

O/N Banagher


Day 8 – Thursday 28th April

Shannon Callows

O/N Banagher


Day 9 – Friday 29th April

Shannon Harbour– Tullamore on Grand Canal Way (21 miles).

O/N Tullamore


Day 10 – Saturday 30th April

Tullamore – Edenderry (pass Daigean and Rhode) (16 miles)

O/N relatives


Day 11 – Sunday 1st May

Visit Bog of Allen

O/N relatives


Day 12 – Monday 2nd May

Edenderry to Tara - mixture of walk and lifts

O/N Navan Tara - thanks to Fiona Smith Darragh, sculptor, for the offer of a night.


Day 13 – Tuesday 3rd May

Tara to Swords - mixture of walk and lifts

O/N Swords with relatives


Day 14 – Wednesday 4th May

Rest day in Swords

O/N Swords with relatives





Day 15 – Thursday 5th May

Ferry from Dublin - Holyhead @ 8:20am arrive 11:50am. Train from Holyhead - Bodorgan train station (Via one of the St Beuno’s churches?)

O/N Mary Stevenson, Anglesey - Thank you.


Day 16 – Friday 6th May

Visit Malltraeth marshes.

O/N Mary Stevenson - Anglesey - Thanks


Day 17 – Saturday 7th May

Malltreath – Bangor (16 miles)

Travel to Pwllheli

O/N Tim Higgins - thanks for the offer



Day 18 – Sunday 8th May

Talk at St Beuno’s church at Clynogg Fwat

O/N Tim Higgins - thanks Tim.


Day 19 – Monday 9th May

Llanberis to Betws y Coed– (16 miles)

O/N Betws y Coed


Day 20 – Tuesday 10th May

Betws y Coed – Pentrefoles (7 miles)

Visit Hiraethog RSPB reserve

O/N Pentrefoles


Day 21 – Wednesday 11th May

Visit Migneint –

Bus/lift to Bala

O/N Bala


Day 22 – Thursday 12th May

Bala to Lake Vyrnwy (13 miles).

O/N Lake Vyrnwyn


Day 23 – Friday 13th May

Lake Vyrnwyn – Llangollen via Berwyn Mountains. Advice and route guidance needed.

O/N Llangollen


Day 24 – Saturday 14th May

Visit Ruabon.

Train / bus from Ruabon to Stiperstones

O/N Stiperstones - Alyson Small - thank you






Day 25 – Sunday 15th May

Visit Stiperstones/Long Mynd

O/N Stiperstones - Alyson Small - thanks very much.


Day 26 – Monday 16th May

Shrewsbury – Market Drayton (20 miles)

O/N Market Drayton.


Day 27 – Tuesday 17th May

Market Drayton – Stoke-on-Trent (16 miles)

O/N Stockton Brook 


Day 28 - Wednesday 18th May

Rest day/talks

O/N Leek


Day 29 – Thursday 19th May

Visit Roaches in the morning – to Longnor in the afternoon (12 miles)

O/N Longnor.


Day 30 – Friday 20th May

Longnor to Baslow (14 miles)

O/N Baslow Thanks to Jean Gollner for putting me up.


Day 31 – Saturday 21st May

Visit Eastern Moors Partnership project

O/N Baslow Thanks to Jean Gollner.


Day 31 – Sunday 22nd May

Delighted to be keynote speaker for Staffs Wildlife Trust AGM

O/N Bonsall - thanks to Mark Eddowes


Day 32 – Monday 23nd May

Bonsall to Bolsover (15 miles)

Meeting Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and their new Centre.

O/N Bolsover


Day 33 – Tuesday 24th May

Bolsover to Tuxford (19 miles)

O/N Tuxford


Day 34 – Wednesday 25th May

Tuxford to Lincoln (16 miles)

O/N Lincoln


Day 35 – Thursday 26th May

Rest day Lincoln/talk

O/N Lincoln


Day 36 – Friday 27th May

Lincoln to Woodhall Spa (17miles)

O/N Woodhall Spa


Day 37 – Saturday 28th May

Visit Woodhall Spa with Lincolnshire WT

O/N Woodhall Spa


Day 38 – Sunday 29th May

Woodhall Spa -Boston (18 miles)

O/N Boston END




This project offers rewards in return for your donation

£10 or more

£10 Reward

A thank you for helping me help curlews.

£20 or more

£20 Reward

A thank you for donating to help save curlews.

£50 or more

£50 Reward

Thanks for donating £50 - I really appreciate it.

£100 or more

£100 Reward

Thank you very much. I'd be very happy to come and give a talk on the walk and curlews.

Got an idea like this?

Over £200 million has been raised from our crowd to support the projects they love! Plus tens of millions more unlocked by our partners.