Britons 'vote with their feet' for summer of simple pleasures - National Trust

Walkers at Stockbridge Down, Hampshire (National Trust Images)
Walkers at Stockbridge Down, Hampshire (National Trust Images)

Research suggests the UK’s renewed appreciation of nature and of simple pleasures endures, as the nation looks forward to the future. The Trust will work to help get people out and about safely all summer as the UK holidays at home.

A YouGov Poll commissioned by the Trust, Europe’s largest conservation charity, found that more than two thirds (69 per cent) of Brits are looking forward to celebrating summer with a walk in nature - with almost half (46 per cent) looking forward to going barefoot.

But the research also suggest that adults appear to have fallen out of love with, or simply forgotten, the simple outdoor pleasures and childhood favourites of skimming stones and playing Pooh sticks, with just 10 per cent and 9 per cent of adults, respectively, looking forward to doing these activities this summer.

Both are some of the many activities that will be on offer to visitors to National Trust places over the summer holidays.

With Brits having endured 15 months of varying restrictions on normal life since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last March, it appears that the nation’s new-found appreciation of the outdoors and nature has not waned.

More than a quarter of adults (26 per cent) say the outdoor simple pleasure they are looking forward to the most is walking in nature, followed by listening to the sound of the sea (10 per cent).

And, the activities that people are most looking forward to doing with their family this summer are going on day trips to the countryside (46 per cent), spending time in nature (45 per cent) and enjoying a picnic outside in a green space (42 per cent). The Trust is therefore asking people to help look after wildlife and landscapes by binning litter or taking it home to dispose of safely.

Last year, the charity found the increased volumes of litter and equipment from flycamping diverted ranger teams away from vital conservation work to help nature. Coast and countryside teams together with volunteers are working hard to prevent a similar scenario this year, although some places are already experiencing issues.

Litter and debris can cause huge issues for wildlife by injuring animals and damaging ecosystems.

Celia Richardson, Director of Communications and Insight at the National Trust said: “Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic we know how much time in nature and daily exercise outdoors, has helped people in terms of feelings of wellbeing. And, despite restrictions having eased little-by-little, particularly over the past few months across the different nations, it appears that this appreciation remains high. We know from the volume of visitors we’re seeing at our places just how popular walking is for all age groups and we look forward to welcoming people over the summer as they enjoy the hundreds of walks across our landscapes, woodland, trails and coastal footpaths.”

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