As 2020 draws to a close, we reflect on the importance of green space in supporting health and well-being.
With a sigh of relief, it is time for us to bid 2020 adieu. And what an unexpected year it has been, with Covid-19 presenting numerous challenges.
The Wildflower Turf team have all remained well and we consider ourselves very fortunate that the business has been able to continue to operate throughout the pandemic, albeit with some changes required.
Reflecting on the year that has been, our over-riding thoughts turn to the importance of well-being, and how renewed awareness of, and access to, green space became synonymous with reviving tired, challenged, and anxious souls over the difficult months of lock-down.
Post lock-down, many people are still relying on their local area of green as a place to meet family and friends while complying with social distancing requirements, as well as getting in a regular dose of exercise and nature.
This renewed focus has, understandably, also resulted in many of us more closely examining our local green spaces. New research (commissioned by the countryside charity, CPRE, alongside the HomeOwners Alliance, and carried out on-line by YouGov) has revealed that 71% of people think their local green spaces, including the countryside next door to where they live, could be enhanced.
The research in question shows that the majority of people believe increasing the amount of wildlife (52%) and the variety of plant life (51%) are the two top ways in which their local green spaces can be improved.
With countryside and green space under threat from development there is pressure on the government to introduce measures to protect, and invest in, our precious community spaces.
The government has responded to community concerns by recently announcing an ambitious ten-point “Green Revolution” plan. The strategy will mobilise £12bn of government investment as well as spurring significant investment from the private sector.
Central to the plan is the protection and restoration of our natural environment, including the planting of 30,000 ha of trees every year. In particular, the UK’s industrial heartland will be instrumental in bringing the government’s plans to life and helping to achieve the UK’s 2050 climate emissions target.
And our changing climate is something that must also be considered as we look to enhance our natural spaces going forward. There is already a requirement to ‘future-proof’ our green space by ensuring that new plantings are appropriate to our changing climate and this is where the benefit of a combination of native and non-native species can be beneficial.
While the many benefits of green space (and in particular, urban green space) are well documented, there is currently a great deal of interest in determining the optimum constituents of green space. Questions as to which key features of green space (for e.g. wildlife, colour, naturalness) optimise the benefits of lifted mood and enhanced health are being examined. This is a fascinating avenue of research and we look forward to updating you further with respect to the findings.
And as we conclude our final blog for 2020, several of our team members have shared how green space has helped with their physical and mental well-being during the year that was.
“Having two dogs means I get to spend time outdoors, mainly at the weekend as I have a lengthy commute each day during the week. Working from home due to Covid has meant I have had more time for these walks during the week when I would have normally been stuck in a car.”
Janine Robinson, Head of Research & Development
“Spending time outdoors has always been important to me. Little did I realise quite how vital it would become until Covid & lock-down restrictions came about. It became my only means of meeting with friends and escaping the solitude of living alone. Also exercise and the beauty of creation certainly promote well-being for me. It has heightened my awareness of what I need, to stay well inside and out.”
Paula Carpenter, Accounts Assistant
“I know that 2020 has made me really appreciate where I live. During the first lock-down I worked from home and therefore no ½ hour commute each way which meant there was time for early evening bike rides. Weekends were also spent exploring and we discovered many new cycling and walking routes all around us. Hampshire is a beautiful county and as a family we have had lots of fun deciding where to go next. Often our lives are so busy but 2020 has meant we have slowed down and spent more time not only in our garden but also in the beautiful countryside all around us.”
Becs Newman, Office Manager
The Wildflower Turf Ltd team wish you and your loved ones a very happy, safe and peaceful Christmas and may your local green space bring you much joy over the festive period.