Share this page

Sustainable Shakespeare - Wildlife on the Welcombe Hills

Esme Wise, who leads our Welcombe Hills Walks, reflects on what it is like to guide visitors around this beautiful space on the outskirts of Stratford-upon-Avon and speak Shakespeare’s words in the wild.

Esme Wise

I almost literally jumped with joy when I found out I was leading the Shakespeare and Wildlife Welcombe Hills Walks. They combine all my favourite things in one lovely package; history, Shakespeare, walking in beautiful landscapes, wildlife, and the chance to meet and talk with people from all walks (no pun intended) of life. When I first heard about the project, I thought it was a wonderful idea. It is a unique way to show the power of Shakespeare’s words and how they resonate today with our attitude towards the environment and the wild spaces around us. The walks also give me a chance to recite Shakespeare’s words under magnificent trees and in front of stunning views, which definitely appealed!

March_WelcombeHills (2).jpg

Leading the walks has also been a wonderful opportunity for me to learn more about the work of the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust from the volunteer who leads the walks with me. They do brilliant, important work and working closely with their volunteer has been a delight.

However, the best part of the walks is meeting the people who come on them. Every walk has been different, every person is there for different reasons and with different expectations. Some have been local people who know the Hills well and have walked them many times. Some have come from other parts of the UK and had no idea the Hills were even there before they joined the walk. Others still have come from abroad, visiting Stratford-upon-Avon for the first time and are enjoying the British countryside. There have been adults of all ages, children, and even some dogs! Some of our visitors have been interested in Shakespeare, others have come for a nice walk, some have had a keen interest in the environment, and others have not thought about it deeply. Talking with them and sharing Shakespeare’s words has been a delight, as well as discussing their perspective about the landscape around them. Sometimes, by the end of the walk, their perspective has changed, which is wonderful to see.

All of our visitors have enjoyed themselves and I hope they have all gone away thinking about the power of words and actions, both in the past and the present.

The land itself has also been inspiring and, every time I lead the walks, I marvel that I get to walk somewhere so close to town which feels so much part of the deep countryside. The cattle may occasionally mean I have to take a slight detour, and sometimes it may rain a little bit, but it’s always beautiful. It also changes constantly. Every time I have walked the Hills they have looked and felt different; the plants and insects change, the sky is never the same colour, and the view is always shifting. I hope everyone gets a chance to enjoy them the way I have.

Tickets for our Welcombe Hills Walks are available from our Whats On page.

To find out more about our work to become net zero in our carbon emissions by 2030 visit our Sustainable Shakespeare page.