A PASSIONATE nature lover has been showing off local critters to people across the country with virtual wildlife walks.

Russell Hedley, 31, started his own business, Nature Talks and Walks, in 2013.

His guided tours teach people about the wildlife that can be found in various spots across the UK, and how to identify what you see.

The former Bolton School pupil was booked to deliver a bird-watching course, and was going to cancel the event when lockdown began before he was asked to deliver it virtually.

Mr Hedley said: “When lockdown began my entire business just went out the window, if you think of trying to do a wildlife walk with social distancing, the person at the back would be so far behind me that they wouldn’t have a hope of seeing the wildlife I’d spotted at the front.

“I was hoping to just weather the storm but then I was asked to put on a virtual workshop and the response has been brilliant.

“Without lockdown I never would have considered this medium for wildlife walks but it’s been fantastic – I'll always keep a part of them in my business because there’s a place for them.”

Each walk lasts around 30 minutes and is designed to give a snippet of the nature that can be found in certain habitats.

Virtual walkers have been taken on a tour of urban habitats, grasslands, wetlands, and the coast.

A schedule has been drawn up for the theme of each walk until the end of June, with chances to learn about rare British mammals, wild ducks, and snakes found across the UK.

The events, held at 10am on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, have been so popular that four Americans took part in a walk last week after hearing about them through a friend.

Mr Hedley added: “It was really nice to see them because it felt like my work had really paid off.

“The heart of my business has always been wildlife, how fun and entertaining it can be, so seeing the walks spread so far gave it that validation.

“I use my own pictures and talk about the wildlife you can see and it’s not just a presentation, they’re fun and lighthearted and are meant for people who love nature but don’t really have much knowledge.”

Each walk costs £3.50 to join, or a subscription for unlimited access to the events, and the ability to watch them at any time, is available at £9 a month.

The walks are all broadcast via Zoom, and downloading the app is the only requirement.

A full list of the upcoming events can be found on the Nature Talks and Walks Facebook page, with booking for each event available on eventbrite.