Welcome to West and Wild:Nature based walks and activities with Thomas Wilson BA (Hons).

April 23, 2010

West and Wild is based in Ayrshire and particularly in the countryside around the River Ayr, which boasts Scotland’s first source to sea footpath (passing almost 50 miles through a diverse landscape rich in history and character) and on the fringe of  the proposed UNESCO Biosphere project, another first for Scotland.

Heading of to the river bank at dusk.

I take great pleasure in guiding individuals and small groups on wildlife watching and walking tours and also on landscape/nature based art activity days.

This area has been a life long and never-ending source of inspiration and wonder to me personally, both as an artist and naturalist.I can honestly claim to have walked and worked in the same fields and land where Robert Burns found his muse and the Covenanters found martyrdom.

Flowing from a  land enriched by the blood, sweat and tears of soldiers, poets, miners and martyrs the River Ayr is a shimmering, unfurling timeline through the history of a nation.  And my tours and activities enable participants to experience this history whilst watching the wildlife of river, wood and moor.

There are bats and otters on the rivers, badgers in the woods, peregrine and golden plovers on the moors, and these are but a few.  And despite all this, and being celebrated as “Burns Country”,  the area is largely unknown to most tourists. Thus the splendour of isolation is often part of the experience.

Although I have a BA (Hons) Degree in Painting after studying at Edinburgh College of Art and the Ecole Regional des Beaux Arts Montpellier, and have worked as an artist and tutor with various groups; young people and families, the homeless, and people with addiction issues, hand in glove with all this is my deep love and interest in nature and the countryside.

I have worked on traditional country estates up and down the West Coast of Scotland. I was in one of Ayrshire’s original Habitat Survey teams in the early 1980’s.  Supporting various conservation groups;  The Scottish Wildlife Trust, Ayrshire Bat Group, Scottish Badgers

I have been an active conservation volunteer for several years.  Especially with badgers, where I have attained my Level One Badger Worker Certificate and will soon complete the second and final certificate. I have attended Wildlife Crime Scene Investigation  and Forensic Workshops with Lothian and Borders Police in conjunction with Scottish Badgers.  I have also worked with Strathclyde Police against wildlife crime with my work being featured in the national news and media.

With a range of established beats and watching sites,  from river gorge to blanket bog,  I’m thrilled to be able to give people a good insight into this beautiful river (“one of the most interesting river valleys in Scotland”) and its environs.  And which you can experience, either as an artist, or a naturalist (or both!).

There are also many  places to stay, like the family home of my good friends Julie and  Alistair Winter in Glen Afton: http://www.aftonwaterview.wordpress.com

-Specific landscape and nature art workshops for summer 2010 are also available.

For further information such as tarrifs etc, please scroll back to the top of the page and click on the headings.