An ‘inspirational’ 91-year-old Lympstone woman is walking a mile for every year of her age to raise awareness and funds for a wildlife charity.
Mary Truell, from Lympstone, is more than halfway through her challenge to visit all 50 Devon Wildlife Trust nature reserves on foot.
Mary’s 91-mile challenge began in May and she has so far visited 30 of the 50 nature reserves, taking in the countryside and rocky coasts of North Devon, rolling farmland, river valleys, high moorland and woodlands, plus the dry heathlands of East Devon.
The Devon Wildlife Trust said reaching all 50 nature reserves was a ‘logistical challenge’ that few people of any age have completed.
Mary said: “I’m doing this challenge to raise awareness of the importance of protecting our natural environment and the urgent necessity for us all to reconnect with nature.
“I also want to help support the work of the Devon Wildlife Trust as it champions the cause of the local environment.”
Mary, who has raised almost £4,500 for the Devon Wildlife Trust, spent much of her married life abroad.
She said her challenge was a good way of getting to know her adopted county of Devon.
Mary said: “I travelled a great deal. My late husband George was in the army so raising a family meant life in Ethiopia and Malaysia.
“We came to Devon in 1988. Together we walked many miles of its countryside trying to get a fuller understanding of this greatly diverse and exciting part of England.
“I realise now how little I understood about where I walked. Our feet leaned the terrain, our lungs were cleansed with fresh air and our hearts gladdened by the scenic beauty.
“But what about our heads? Do we really understand why it is so vital we stop destroying our companions in nature?”
Mary’s motivation for her monumental effort is a passion for wildlife and concern for its future.
Her highlights so far include spending time among swathes of Dartmoor bluebells at Emsworthy nature reserve, listening to skylarks at Teigngrace Meadow reserve, near Chudleigh, and discovering the solitude of Hawkswood reserve near Honiton.
Steve Hussey, Devon Wildlife Trust spokesman, said: “Mary is a remarkable person. Her passion for local wildlife has fuelled her sense of adventure and I’m so thankful that she has chosen Devon Wildlife Trust as the beneficiary.
“I’ve accompanied Mary on several of her visits to our nature reserves and she combines great determination with a deep interest in the natural world around her. She is an inspiration.”
Support Mary’s efforts at here