We at CPRE have worked with the WI to research how people are experiencing lockdown, and the results suggest that physical distancing doesn’t necessarily make for social isolation – and that we’re valuing our green spaces more than ever.
We asked over 2000 people about their experiences of lockdown, and it’s clear that this time has helped us feel more connected to local people and green spaces. Over half of us are appreciating our local green spaces more since the country adopted social distancing measures – perhaps not surprisingly, given the time many of us are spending locally on our daily exercise. Lynne Stubbings, chair of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, hits the nail on the head:
‘So many of us have discovered pockets of green right on our doorsteps – a chance to get out in the fresh air, exercise, and support our mental wellbeing, which has been an oasis in difficult times.’
The real benefits of these precious green spaces are clearer than ever, with over half of those we asked saying that lockdown has made them more aware of the importance of these local green spaces for mental health and wellbeing. And our lovely parks and green areas (including Green Belts, the ‘countryside next door’ for so many of us) are getting extra love and footfall in these strange times, with more than a third of us visiting them since the start of lockdown.