January 2023

Wildlife Walk along the Thames to Commemorate 19th Century Author

A chance to look closely at nature along the Thames.

A project to remember Richard Jefferies, a 19th century author who lived in several places in suburban London and wrote vividly about the Thames, especially the its wildlife, nature and the environment is happening this year. He is recognised as the first person to use the expression ‘wild life’ to describe the natural world.

The Richard Jefferies Museum want to get people to look closely at nature and wildlife as they are now, 175 years later. These subjects are, of course, more relevant than ever now as we recognise the seriousness of climate change.

The museum, situated at the farmhouse near Swindon where Jefferies was born are planning a Wildlife Walk this year to celebrate the 175th anniversary of his birth in 1848. The route will reflect the life story of the author who died in 1887 aged only 39 and will follow the Thames from Richmond to Goring.

A route will start at Broadwater Cemetery in Worthing where Jefferies was buried and finishes at Coate Farm, Swindon where he was born. It takes in the places that were important to him, including the Thames, and the museum are inviting groups who share his interests to join in – for as short or long a distance as they want – and tell them about what they did and what they saw. The museum will supply a detailed route for people to use if they wish, information about Jefferies including samples of what he wrote about each area, and ideas about how to make the most of the experience.

Everyone who joins in will be encouraged to share how it went, and share their photos, videos, drawings etc. The museum want to get as much information as they can about nature, wildlife and the environment on the route as well as the impact humans have had on that environment – by building, farming or re-wilding. This will all contribute to the final stage of the project – a book telling the whole story of the Wildlife Walk beginning with the life and writing of Richard Jefferies, including the things  discovered when we retraced his steps and finishing with reflections on the lessons learnt by everyone who took part.

The launch of the Walk will be in the week leading up to Earth Day on 22 April 2023 and it will end with a celebration at the Museum in Swindon on 6 November, Richard Jefferies’ birthday

To find our more visit The Richard Jefferies Museum website.

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