A 95-year-old who embarked on a horse riding challenge to raise awareness of endangered plants is almost finished the trek.

Renowned botanist Dr Margaret Bradshaw began riding across Teesdale, in County Durham, 11 weeks ago.

She set off, on Sigma, from the Moorcock Inn, in Eggleston, and after tackling the 55 mile journey in small sections, she and companion Tricia Snaith, on Shada, will finish the trek back at the pub on Friday, September 24.

Among the well-wishers greeting them, at about 4pm, will be botanist John O’Reilly, who set Dr Bradshaw the challenge.

Dr Bradshaw has used the ride to raise funds for her charity, the Teesdale Special Flora Research and Conservation Trust, so it can continue work surveying and protecting the dale’s unique assemblage of plants including blue spring gentian and hoary rock-rose.

So far the trek has raised about £4,500 towards the £5,000 target and Mr O’Reilly did the Great North Run on Sunday to boost the campaign coffers.

Read more: Grant to help protect rare plants in Teesdale, County Durham


John O’Reilly did the Great North Run to support Dr Bradshaw’s charity

John O’Reilly did the Great North Run to support Dr Bradshaw’s charity


Dr Bradshaw said: “Many thanks to everyone who has sponsored the trek already and sent messages of encouragement. There is still time to donate.

“Upper Teesdale is a treasure house of rare plants, many of which have survived since the last Ice Age.

“These species I have seen decrease in the 50 years I have studied the rare flora. We need to keep recording what is happening to our flora and experiment with ways to halt the shocking level of decline.”


Botanists Margaret Bradshaw and John OReilly

Botanists Margaret Bradshaw and John O'Reilly


Dr Bradshaw has announced that she will run her last evening course for the Upper Teesdale Botany Group, set up 19 years ago, this autumn.

A six week programme at the Masonic Hall, Middleton-in-Teesdale, starts on Monday, October 4, to book a place email mebhilltop@btinternet.com or call 01833-650589.


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