61 km / 38 miles
The Rothschild Way is a footpath extending to Woodwalton Fen from Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire and commemorating the early wildlife conservation work of Charles Rothschild. The footpath was the idea of Adrian Kempster, Chairman of the Great Fen Local Group who wanted to establish a long-distance walk which would enable people to connect two Living Landscape schemes with the Rothschild connection. The new footpath (2014) will link the two National Nature Reserves of Wicken Fen and Woodwalton Fen, a distance of some 38 miles. The historic link between these two reserves is that Charles Rothschild bought them in 1899 and 1910 respectively. He then went on to become a major pioneer in developing the wildlife conservation movement in the UK.
No detailed instruction are available yet. Further information at is on the link below at http://www.greatfen.org.uk/visit/Rothschild-Way
The path website includes biographic notes on his role in conservation. Nathaniel Charles Rothschild (1877-1923) was an entomologist, a pioneer of nature conservation in Britain and the inspirational founder and first Chairman of the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves – the organisation that went on to become the Wildlife Trusts. Rothschild bought part of Wicken Fen in 1899, creating Britain’s first nature reserve. He gave the reserve to the National Trust, who still manage the reserve to this day. In 1910 he bought Woodwalton Fen intending to donate this site to the National Trust too, but the Trust was reluctant to take on a second nature reserve when the upkeep of Wicken Fen was proving costly. For a while, Rothschild kept Woodwalton as his own personal nature reserve. Read more about the History of Woodwalton Fen. Probably Rothschild's most important contribution to nature conservation was when in 1912 he formed the first society in Britain concerned with protecting wildlife habitats - the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves for Britain and the Empire (SPNR), now the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts. He donated Woodwalton Fen to the society in 1919 and The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts still own the reserve today. The society now manages 2,300 nature reserves across the UK, with the support of more than 800,000 members – a testament to the legacy of Charles Rothschild.
The project is an informal joint venture between the Huntingdon Ramblers, the Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Northampton Wildlife Trust and the National Trust (Wicken Fen). It is hoped that many people will walk the Rothschild Way including as means of generating donations for these various conservation organisations.
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