Lacing up our boots for The Big Green Hike from sea to city

On Friday 5th April the City to Sea team were joined by corporate partners, supporters, family and friends on an eight-mile hike along the river Avon in Bristol. We laced up our and took on the challenge for the Big Green Hike, a nationwide sponsored walk aiming to raise funds for nature and environmental charities like City to Sea.

As it’s not in our nature to sit back and watch while our supporters take on their challenges, we wanted to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. So, on Friday morning we met at a train station on the outskirts of Bristol, under a slightly ominous sky, with the aim of connecting with nature, with our partners and supporters and with one another while highlighting the issue of plastic pollution. 

The route we planned was to take us from the mouth of the Avon in the Bristol Channel (let’s call this ‘the sea’) upstream through Avon Gorge all the way to Bristol’s floating harbour (‘the city’). The journey ahead felt all the more manageable as many of the team were testing out their new walking shoes. A huge shout out to Vivobarefoot for kitting us up! 

Connecting with nature, our minds and one another

The first section of the walk involved a river crossing.  However, the Avon is a large tidal river, so the only way to do this was via 1.2 miles of M5 motorway bridge! By embodying one of our brand values, positivity, we saw this as an opportunity to connect with our mission. While crossing we looked across Avonmouth to the west, the port suburb that is the destination for much of Bristol’s non-recyclable waste.  

Once on the other side of the river, we were greeted by birdsong as we strolled east along the riverbank towards Bristol. Navigating the footpath through archways of flowering hawthorns and open fields of horses and cows, we were treated to a wealth of bird life including grey herons and buzzards flying overhead and oyster catchers skimming the river surface beside us. 

As our legs began to ache and our stomachs started to rumble, we ducked into the woodland for a lunch break. Here, we were lead through a guided meditation by our People Lead, Hetti, helping us to focus our minds and bodies on the natural surroundings and the journey we were taking. With three miles to go, the city in our sights, and feeling reinvigorated after our break, we set off for the final push to Bristol.

Getting our hands dirty for our rivers and oceans

Even in a beautiful landscape like the Avon Gorge, it’s sadly impossible to avoid seeing plastic pollution. Armed with waste bags and gloves, we stopped to pick up plastic and non-plastic waste that had been dropped on the path or washed up on the river banks.  

As well as the usual suspects like crisp packets, drink cans and plastic bottles, Natalie Fée, City to Sea’s founder, spotted a glistening item stranded on riverbank. On closer inspection it turned out to be a small model of the Hindu God, Ganesha! Known as the ‘remover of obstacles’, we hope this find is symbolic of a smooth transition from single-use to refill and reuse we need to see. 

After combing the riverbank and preventing four bags worth of plastic pollution from washing down the river into the ocean, we walked the final stretch into Bristol’s iconic floating harbour. Our weary feet took a well-deserved rest as we reflected on the journey we had taken. A journey in the opposite direction to the flow of plastic pollution from city to sea.

What a brilliant way to connect and engage with the City to Sea community – by combining the practical task of litter picking and hiking in urban and natural scenery through Bristol. We shared our commitment to environmental stewardship in such a synergistic way, and by preventing plastic from breaking down in the environment we collectively tackled plastic pollution head on! City to Sea genuinely embodies the values of a forward-thinking, proactive organisation – we love to see it!

Thalia Day

Impact Lead, Ocean Bottle

Get involved in World Refill Day

If our Big Green Hike has inspired you to get outside, connect and take action on plastic pollution then we would love you to get involved in World Refill Day on 16th June! This year on World Refill Day we are asking our supporters to join us in calling for legally binding reduction and reuse targets to increase the amount of reusable packaging by writing to their MP. More information to come very soon!  

As part of the Big Green Hike, we are fundraising to power our plastic-preventing campaigns and political advocacy work. You can support us by donating to our JustGiving page.

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