One of the healthiest options to enrich our lives is walking. Studies have been done all over the world showing the incredible heath benefits people get from walking. Running too has great benefits, and so does swimming, exercising, etc. However, making a habit of walking regularly helps to maintain a healthy weight and lose body fat; prevent or manage conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes; improve cardiovascular fitness; strengthen bones and muscles; improve muscle endurance; and increase energy levels.
Walking in a forest, gorge, or natural area adds greatly to our physical and mental health. Being exposed to forests in all their biodiversity boosts our immune system, reduces stress levels, improves our mood, accelerates recovery from surgery or illness, improves sleep, increases our ability to focus, and even reduces effects of ADHD in children.
Walking, and more so walking in a natural area such as a forest or gorge contributes in many ways to our personal health. The Upper Highway area is blessed with many wonderful natural areas for people to walk in and enjoy the magic and health that nature gives to us. One of these wonderful natural areas is the Everton Gorge formed by the Molweni river.
The Everton Gorge is rich in indigenous trees and plants and has many beautiful trails and majestic waterfalls. The wildlife includes 250 different bird species and many mammal species such as bats, porcupines, bush pigs, blue duiker, grey duiker, bush buck, genets, caracals and even serval cats. The plant life includes many wonderful flowers such as the lovely orchid, Mysticidium capense.
The Everton Conservancy committee, made up entirely of volunteers, has assumed the responsibility of maintaining this wonderful natural area, and they do this through employing a team of people that focus on this task. They maintain the trails and remove non-indigenous plants and trees. After last year’s floods they moved rapidly to clear the damage done to the trails. They fund their endeavours through donations from walkers and runners who use the Everton gorge for their fun and exercise. The present monthly costs for this maintenance are R8500 per month.
Unfortunately the Everton Conservancy has seen a huge reduction in the number of people making donations. However, thanks to a group of business leaders in the Upper Highway area, the Conservancy has been given some generous donations which will enable them to continue with their efforts to maintain the trails. A huge ‘Thank-you’ to the organisations that have contributed, which include Stimela, Stimela Marine, DRG, DRG Siyaya, BusinessFit, CC&A and The Sanctuary.
It is the hope of the Everton Conservancy to continue to attract people to visit and enjoy the wonderful Everton Gorge, not only to contribute towards management of this natural wonder. They want people to enjoy the natural areas which are on their doorstep, gain from the many health benefits associated with walking in them and ultimately to raise awareness of the fragility of these pristine areas.
Everton Conservancy was the first Urban Conservancy established in South Africa.Everton suburb now has some 280 homes, with properties no less than 2 acres.It is a uniquely special area in the Upper Highway, and maintaining its jewel, the Everton Gorge, is critical in helping to conserve biodiversity, store carbon, and kindle a passion in people to enjoy and want to protect nature. The Conservancy has a special request to all Everton residents, asking each household to contribute R40.00 per month towards maintenance and management of the Gorge. Any Everton residents, or other persons or businesses interested in contributing towards this important and meaningful cause to please contact Tony Kee at email@example.com