The Independence Way route follow the contours and curves of the local landscape, along roads and laneways, passing crossroads and often-forgotten stiles that have been used by generations of local people. These highways are characterised by hedgerows and their verges that flower, fruit and seed over the course of the seasons providing food, shelter and safety not only for men and women of the Independence Way but also the diversity of wildlife that utilise them.
The Haw’ and the Blackthorn, the Ash and the Oak are some of the native trees that can be identified along the route and under their protection can be found a wonderful bounty and diversity of plant life from spring Bluebells, Primroses and Violets that decorate the banks to Yellow-flag Iris and Purple Loosestrife that thrive in the wet ditches where streams track.
Mammals that occur here include the Red Squirrel, Badger, Pygmy Shrew and Field Mouse while overhead birds such as the Barn Owl, Buzzard and Yellow-Hammer wheel and call for the enjoyment of those that care to hear. A myriad of insects can be found here too nectaring or collecting pollen including butterfly species such as the Speckled Wood, Ringlet and Small Tortoiseshell to the less-common Small Copper and Silver-washed Fritillary. Busy bees such as the Common Carder, Red-tailed and Buff-tailed bumblebees make their way around flowers building their nests in the nooks and crannies of stone banks or deep in grassy tussocks.
Doubtless nature was an essential backdrop to our struggle for Independence and the wildlife that we see here today can trace their ancestry back just as we can. We can be grateful that they continue to live side-by-side with us today and are no-less-worthy of learning their names and ensuring that they continue to have a sanctuary in our communities.