As the sun comes out, new reports show how important nature is in Suffolk

The surveys show people have come to appreciate wildlife, parkland and the countryside during the lo

The surveys show people have come to appreciate wildlife, parkland and the countryside during the lockdown. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Two new reports have flagged up the importance of nature to people living in towns and the countryside – just as an annual campaign supported by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust is due to start.

More people are coming to enjoy the delights of the countryside. Picture: MARTIN NEWELL

More people are coming to enjoy the delights of the countryside. Picture: MARTIN NEWELL - Credit: Archant

Wildlife trusts from across the country, including SWT, are supporting the 30 Days Wild campaign that starts on June 1. It is an annual event which encourages people to engage with nature every day during June.

This year it is expected to have special significance because people have come to appreciate green spaces even more than normal during lockdown – making time in the garden or taking exercise in parks or countryside even more precious.

To mark this year’s campaign trusts from across the country have linked up with the University of Derby to carry out a survey into how important nature is to people.

The results show that engaging with nature in a small, simple way, every single day for one month, significantly increases people’s wellbeing. These positive increases are sustained for months and the greatest benefits are felt by those people who had, initially, a relatively weak connection with nature.

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A separate poll, commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes found that 60% of people living in the East of England think protecting and enhancing green spaces should be a higher priority after the lockdown. And 53% of people said the lockdown had made them more aware of the importance of these local green spaces.

Crispin Truman, chief executive of CPRE, said: “Understandably, many of us are raring to go, desperate to get outside and enjoy the countryside with friends and family at a safe distance this bank holiday weekend. There is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has reminded us why the countryside next door, including our Green Belts, is so important.

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“More people are aware of the health and wellbeing benefits that access to green spaces delivers and support for protecting and enhancing these after lockdown is impossible for the government to ignore. Fortunately, the unseasonably good weather we’re experiencing at the moment means that socialising with a family member outside is what you’d want to be doing anyway.”

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