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EDP journalist takes on 220-mile Norfolk trek for zoological charity

PUBLISHED: 06:41 20 October 2016 | UPDATED: 06:59 20 October 2016

Chris Hill in training for his sponsored charity walk around Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Chris Hill in training for his sponsored charity walk around Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2016

An agricultural journalist is swapping his wellies for hiking boots to undertake a 220-mile trek around his home county to raise money for a conservation charity.

Chris Hill's fundraiaing trek around Norfolk for ZSEAChris Hill's fundraiaing trek around Norfolk for ZSEA

Chris Hill, the EDP’s farming editor, sets off on Saturday for the 10-day solo walk, using the network of Norfolk Trails to explore the county’s coastal wildlife havens, the wetlands of the Broads, the heaths of the Brecks and the Roman heritage of the west Norfolk.

The route encompasses the Norfolk Coast Path from Hunstanton to Sea Palling, then follow the Weavers Way to Great Yarmouth before taking the Angles Way through the Waveney valley to Knettishall Heath, from where the Peddars Way wends its way back to Holme next the Sea.

After an average of 22 miles per day, he’ll be staying overnight on the route in a camper van driven by his father and support crew, Tom.

The reporter will be raising money for the Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA), the animal charity which runs Banham Zoo and Africa Alive, and also works with international conservation projects and breeding programmes to help threatened species around the world.

The 41-year-old, from Massingham Road in Norwich, said: “As a Norfolk boy this is something I’ve wanted to do for a while – it’s a great way to see the diversity of landscape, history and wildlife which this fine county has to offer at a beautiful time of year. Hopefully the weather is kind, but I’ll be ready for anything.

“I’ve done a few long-distance walks before, like the Coast to Coast across northern England and the West Highland Way in Scotland, but I’ve never done this mileage day after day. So I’m prepared for it to hurt – I’m packing my blister plasters, knee supports and paracetamol and hopefully if anyone sees me limping along the trail they’ll take pity on me, come and say hello, and throw a few quid in the collection bucket for a good cause.

“I think most people in East Anglia will be familiar with Banham Zoo and Africa Alive, but fewer will be aware of the charitable work that ZSEA supports around the world, so this seemed a good way of raising that profile, and earning them some cash.”

The trek will also serve as training for an even bigger fundraising effort for ZSEA in January, as Chris will join an expedition to climb Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest peak and the world’s highest freestanding mountain at an altitude of 5,895m.

About the charity

Founded in 2013, the Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA) is a charitable trust, dedicated to conservation, animal welfare and education.

After taking on the ownership of Banham Zoo and Africa Alive near Lowestoft, the charity can now use donations to support the zoos’ conservation work, both in the UK and internationally.

While animal displays and talks at the zoos help with the educational goals, the conservation aspirations involve collaborations with conservation bodies and wildlife organisations around the world.

ZSEA supports breeding programmes, scientific research and conservation projects which are helping the prospects of threatened species of animals ranging from lemurs in Madagascar, to Grevy’s zebra in Kenya and snow leopards in Asia.

To track the progress of the trek, follow @ChrisHill75 on Twitter.

To sponsor Chris’s Big Walk, click here.

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