Gloucestershire

'Human swan' Sacha Dench crosses the English Channel

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Image caption Sacha Dench took off from Saint-Inglevert, near Calais, earlier on her journey between Russia and WWT Slimbridge

A conservationist who has been following Bewick's swans migrating from Russia has crossed the English Channel on her powered paraglider or paramotor.

Sacha Dench is tracking the birds on their 7,000km (4,500 miles) journey to Slimbridge in Gloucestershire.

She left the Aeroclub du Boulonnais, France, at 11:00 GMT and landed to the north of Dover at 12:38.

Ms Dench will eventually make her way to Slimbridge. She is expected to arrive there by 12 December.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Sacha Dench had planned her adventure for two years and spent time training in Sweden

Speaking before she took off she said the cross-Channel flight was "the big one".

"If there's an engine out, or the motor fails, you're landing in the water which no paramotorist ever wants to do," she said.

Ms Dench works at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust headquarters in Slimbridge.

After Monday's flight she plans to fly across Kent, take a boat trip through London - as she is not allowed to fly over the capital - before flying up the Thames Valley to Slimbridge.


Bewick's swan

Image copyright PA
  • They arrive in the UK in mid-October after breeding in Siberia. They winter in the UK's comparatively warm climate, before departing again in March
  • They are found mainly in eastern England, around the Severn estuary and in Lancashire. The Ouse and Nene Washes in Cambridgeshire, Martin Mere in Lancashire and Slimbridge in Gloucestershire are good places to see them
  • In the UK, they feed in fields on leftover potatoes and grain. On their breeding grounds, they eat aquatic plants and grass

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