Tag Archives: commuting

Going wild on your way to work

If you travel by train or bus to work its a great time to check out the nature on your journey.

Wild bus stop.jpg
Bus stops can be surprisingly good places for nature

My commute from Bath to Swindon by train transports me through glorious countryside. Just staring out of the window is a nice way to get to know the green places around where you live or work. I’m lucky that its field after field and I might be able to spot a roaming deer or flock of rooks in the trees. Its a view that I never really tire of.

Even the most urban commute by train will throw up all kinds of wild treats. Its a question of looking. Railways can create great corridors for wildlife and the embankments can be full of life with butterflies settling on buddleia and songbirds perching in the trees. Wildflowers also spring up adding a splash of colour and the brambles and nettles are great as a wonderful food sourceĀ for all sorts of creatures.

Waiting at a bus stop as you’re just waking up might not seem the best place to do some wildlife watching. You’d be surprised if you did some detective work while you wait as plants and birds particularly can spring up where you least expect them. Insects can also be found making their way from A to B, whether spiders of beetles.

So, 30 Days Wild is a great time to think about using your journey to work as a new found window on the world of wildlife.

Two feet good…the joy of wandering

Every month has its designation and now that we’re in the month of May its National Walking Month. Any initiative or campaign to encourage more people to walk is a good thing in my book.

For some people walking has an image problem. Think walking, think hikers, with all the latest kit, striding off into the countryside. We shouldn’t forget that its the people that have rambled the land for generations that helped open up our green and pleasant land for everyone and the mass trespass to Kinder Scout in the Peak District ultimately led to our network of wonderful National Parks.

I like to think of walking as the stuff of life. If I don’t have a daily wander it doesn’t feel like I’ve connected with the world around me. Yes you can see it in the narrow confine of how many steps that you’ve walked today but there is something plain nice about walking the streets of the place that you work or live.

Back at the start of April I began a new job. One of the first things that I did was to work out a few walking routes of different lengths. And as part of this detective work there was the real bonus of a footpath neighbouring the railway, nearby the office, which is a nature rich urban corridor – full of wildlife. As spring arrived so did the birdsong, trees bursting into leaf and the sight of butterflies on the wing.

We should all try and get walking more. Just set off from where you live and walk. See where it takes you. I can bet that you’ll find out so much more about the place where you call home. The pace is just right too, to take things in and to notice the buildings, the green spaces and the sounds that just flash by or you miss when driving past.

Walking is also a great time to think. Try to resist the urge to plug those headphones in and just let the soundscape inspire you. You can use a walk in the morning to plan your day or in the evening to download your day.

I still love a long distance walk (I’m in the midst of trying to complete the classic Cotswold Way with friends) but a ramble through some woods with my family or the walk to the station in the morning is just as rewarding. We’re made to walk and hopefully May will tempt a few more people to see that walking in good your body, soul and mind.

A journey through nature

It’s amazing how many different habitats you can see in half an hour – if you’re travelling by train. They can sometimes be a bit of a blur but on my regular journey from Bath to Swindon you get so see plenty of wildlife. 

It can be a new way of seeing and connecting with the natural world on the way to work or a day trip on the train; opportunity to see nature in some surprising and interesting places.

And if you’re lucky enough to to pass the Exe estuary with all of the waders or the abandoned industrial edgelands of our towns and cities you’ll be in for a real treat.
While most of us will be head down looking at emails or checking out twitter you’re missing a chance to see the passing countryside and all that it has to offer.

Railways create a natural corridor effect with embankments rich in wildflowers, hedgerows and trees. If you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of butterflies or birds darting towards a nest.

But it’s also the richness and diversity of the views from the train windows. Small copses on the tops of hills, lightly grazed meadows, streams and ponds, and parcels of woodland. You might see a bumble bee buzzing outside the window when waiting at a red signal, a row of starlings perched on a wire or cows munching on a flower rich grassland.
So next time you travel by train set yourself a goal to see how much nature you can see as you speed towards your final destination. Take the time to resist the lure of an email or post on Facebook and see what you can discover. Every journey is a different natural adventure.