Student cycles 530 miles to university to raise funds for curlew

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Many students used planes, trains and automobiles to return to university for the new academic year, but one travelled hundreds of miles by pedal power alone.

Ben Porter made the 530-mile bike ride from the Llyn Peninsula in Wales to Land's End, ahead of his final year studying conservation and biology at the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus.

He took on the challenge in order to raise money for the conservation of the curlew - an iconic bird whose numbers are in steep decline.

"During the summer I formulated the rather daunting idea of travelling back to university by leg power alone - cycling a winding and hilly route through Wales and the South West to Falmouth," he said.

"After nine days on the road, I was elated to finish my trip last week as I rode the last few kilometres to Land's End on a glorious autumn afternoon.

"It's been a whirlwind journey taking me through a blur of different landscapes, past a myriad of exciting wildlife spectacles and through an endlessly changing battle of weather conditions.

"One of the key drivers of my ride was to raise money for the iconic curlew: an enigmatic bird characterising much of Britain's uplands and estuaries that has disappeared from some 46% of its breeding range in the UK since 1996."

Mr Porter has set up an online fundraising and has already raised more than £2,200.

"Every penny of this will be used by the British Trust for Ornithology to carry out research into this bird's worrying declines, and hopefully shed light on what can be done to save such a beautiful species," he added.