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Time for the serious cycling!

It's time to tackle the hundred mile cycle ride to RSPB Minsmere from Wat Tyler Country Park After Monday's difficult cycling conditions Tuesday's stage to Colchester was idyllic by comparison. Nonetheless it still starts with a puncture. And if that happens what better than to be near a very friendly cycle shop!

Stuart of Essex Bicycles Ltd

For anyone following the RSPB Eastern 400 route in future be sure to visit Stuart at Essex Bicycles near Wat Tyler Country Park.

The last 25 miles into Colchester follow the exceptionally well marked National Cycle (NCN) route no.1. Which is just as well as at times what look like implausible suggestions for a road bike work out for the best.

A lonely crossroads six miles from Colchester

Colchester Castle

Colchester achieved city status in 2022. The stunning Norman castle and the exceptionally well tended park gardens are probably one reason why.

The Wat Tyler Country Park

The RSPB ceased operations at Wat Tyler Country Park several years ago and the visitor centre is now closed. But Emily still attracted attention and centre manager Sandra was very helpful.

Natalie Lowdell with the Emily maquette

Natalie Lowdell was fascinated by the maquette.

On Friday, 28th, Emily returns to one of the RSPB flagships; RSPB Minsmere. She was last there as part of the shortlisting tour in 2021. She will be there from 11.00 a.m. to midday.

Minsmere is renowned for its tranquil surroundings. Visitors can expect to find nightingales, marsh harriers, bearded tits, bitterns and avocets. So why not visit the reserve and say hello to Manchester Councillor Andrew Simcock and the Emily Williamson statue design?

An avocet chick at RSPB Minsmere

At midday Andrew resumes his 400 mile cycle ride. Half the money he raises will go towards vital conservation efforts at the eight RSPB reserves he is visiting on the ride. The other half will go towards funding a permanent statue to the female founder of the UK’s largest nature conservation charity.

To donate to the fundraising campaign please visit Andrew's fundraising page.

Andrew then heads for RSPB Lakenheath arriving on Saturday morning.

Andrew on a training run in Bollington, Cheshire

The Emily Williamson statue will be placed in Fletcher Moss Park, Didsbury, Manchester, where Emily lived when she founded the RSPB in 1889.

Cycling 400 miles and visiting eight RSPB nature reserves across six counties Andrew is aiming to raise £5,000.

Andrew’s RSPB Eastern 400 ride will take him to eight RSPB reserves in the six counties of Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Lincolnshire, beginning 23 July and finishing Wednesday 2 August, He is aiming to raise £5,000 towards the fundraising goal of £100,000 and half of the funds raised with be shared among the RSPB reserves he is visiting.

Eve Shepherd with her winning design

In December 2020 a competition was launched by author and journalist Tessa Boase and Andrew, in partnership with the RSPB, to design a statue of Emily Williamson (1855-1936). The four shortlisted designs were unveiled on the centenary of The Plumage Act (1 July 2021), the RSPB’s first legislation triumph and the result of Emily’s long campaign.

Brighton based sculptor Eve Shepherd’s winning design was then made available as 20 limited edition 40 cm high bronze maquettes which are also for sale as part of the fundraising efforts for the life-sized sculpture of Emily.

To find out more please go to

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