The World’s First Nature Reserve

Hold on, hold up and hang on a minute, you will never believe where I’ve just been – I can hardly believe it myself! I have only gone and been to what was purportedly the first ever nature reserve in THE WORLD! Yes, not just in Yorkshire, not just in England, not just in the UK, but in the world and not only that, it’s a mere 19 minutes drive from where I live.
I’m starting to think that should come as no surprise that I ended up moving to India to manage a lodge in a wildlife reserve in India (Did I mention I’d written a book about that?) it must have been fate, literally in my water, so to speak. Okay, so there have never been any tigers in Yorkshire, possibly a few cougars these days, but we did have a certain Charles Waterton (1782 – 1865), Squire of Walton Hall, a traveller, naturalist and conservationist. In 1821 he began to build a wall around the estate to protect the wildlife inside Walton Park. It took 5 years to build and cost £9000 (approx £2.5 million today) was 3 miles long and as much as 16 feet high, in places, separating the park from the landscape surrounding it.
Over some 30 years he recorded 123 species of birds in Walton Park.
Not only that, but he was also against pollution being opposed to the local soap makers polluting Walton village and eventually managed to have them evicted. They decamped all the way to Wakefield. No further comment.
Gosh, I think that’s quite enough excitement for one night. Time for a cup of tea me thinks.

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