Walk for wildlife raises thousands for local wildlife charity

Chess Valley (c) Peter O'Connor

Popular charity walk goes “virtual” after demand for live event soars

Keen walkers can now take part in the Chess Valley Challenge at a time of their choosing. The event, organised by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and sponsored by Affinity Water, took place on Sunday and saw over 80 attendees walk the Chess Valley Way between Rickmansworth and Chesham, raising more than £3,000 so far to protect local wildlife. Registrations have now re-opened for ramblers to do the walk “virtually”.

The Chess Valley Challenge is a great way to support the work of the Trust and we want to give everyone a chance to enjoy this fantastic day out in their own time.
Emma Matthars
Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust

After the Chess Valley Challenge had to be postponed in June due to the pandemic, demand soared and the sponsored walk was fully booked weeks before the event.

Emma Matthars, the Trust’s Events Officer, says: “Clearly, people are passionate to explore their local countryside and support the work of the Trust. The Chess Valley Challenge is a great way to do this and we wanted to give everyone a chance to enjoy this fantastic day out in their own time.”

Chess Valley Challenge 2020

Everyone who registers to do the event virtually will receive guidance for this self-guided walk and a reusable water bottle once they submit “proof” of completing the challenge. Starting in Rickmansworth, the walk covers the 10 miles to Chesham through the beautiful Chess Valley, passing through the Trust’s Frogmore Meadows Nature Reserve and along the River Chess, a globally rare chalk river.

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust worked hard to make the live event on Sunday COVID-secure with agreement of local police and Three Rivers District Council. Departure times were staggered, only groups of up to six people were permitted to register and the walk was entirely self-guided.

Chess Valley Challenge 2020

The Chess Valley Challenge was initially scheduled to take place in June but had to be postponed due to Coronavirus restrictions. Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust had to cancel events and fundraising activities throughout the year, including the widely popular Festival of Wildlife at Panshanger Park in July and the annual Apple Day at Tewin Orchard in October. Like many other charities, the Trust is expecting to suffer heavy losses of more than £250,000 in income this year.

Emma Matthars, the Trust’s Events Officer, says: “We are delighted that we were able to go ahead with the Chess Valley Challenge after having to cancel most of our other events this year and we are very grateful for the support of our sponsors Affinity Water. The virtual challenge is a wonderful way to help raise funds for local wildlife, get out into nature and discover this lovely area in a safe way.”

Local water supplier, Affinity Water, recognise the importance of helping to protect the environment and sponsored the walk to help raise funds to support local wildlife.

Affinity Water’s Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications, Jake Rigg said: “We would like to thank the Trust for giving us the opportunity to get involved in the Chess Valley Challenge and help local wildlife.

“The environment is at the very core of our business and we are determined to make great strides to protect the local places people call home.

“To that end, we are pleased to announce that we have voluntarily turned off two major groundwater abstraction sites near the River Chess in the Chilterns, which marks the start of our ambition to protect globally rare chalk streams across our region and end unsustainable abstraction from chalk groundwater sources.

“This action will be followed up by further significant reductions at sites near the River Ver and the River Mimram in 2024.”

Chess Valley waymarker

Chess Valley waymarker (c) Peter O'Connor

Join the virtual Challenge

Registrations are now open for the virtual Chess Valley Challenge. Plan your day, bring a picnic and have a great day out with the family or friends whilst discovering the beautiful Chess Valley.

Sign up now