At their heart, birdwatching  and walking have a lot in common with the ideals and aims of slow travel.

Birdwatching and walking somewhere with a destination in mind encourages you to see parts of the country you may have not even been aware existed.

You see a very different Wales if you go looking for birds in Wales and as with walking, you’re always motivated by a sense of objective that can lead you into finding something interesting and unexpected as a result.

Wildlife is a living, moving connection to the environment and once someone becomes interested in birds – or is struck with awe at a view along a national trail, then you have someone who is also concerned about the natural world around us.

You can think of birdlife as being a good indicator of the health of the environment around us and dropping numbers is a sure sign that something has been thrown out of balance.

In our own community of South Wales, along the coast we have the Gwent Levels. It’s a nationally important habitat and arguably one of the most important areas for birdlife in Wales. Thousands of birds migrate here every year, and the area is an important habitat for some rare species of birds, as well as voles and otter.

Our local RSPB is working on a landscape project – ‘Our Living Levels’. They’ve successfully re-introduced threatened species back into the wetlands, and aim to raise awareness about the landscape, history and heritage of this conservation area.

Over the next twelve months, the Living Levels Partnership will be developing a programme of activities to help shape the project. This will involve a series of community engagement events to ensure the views and wishes of local people are embedded into the heart of the project.

Living Levels have put together a survey, if you’ve visited the area  – it only takes a minute and would be a lot of help to them and their cause:

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