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Natural England data shows spending time in the garden is beneficial for wellbeing

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There is coverage in this morning’s Times, Daily Telegraph, the i, and Western Daily Press of data collected by Natural England which suggests that spending time in a garden is as beneficial for health and wellbeing as living in the wealthiest areas. The Times also looks at the wider benefits of gardening during the current coronavirus pandemic.

The research was conducted by the University of Exeter and the Royal Horticultural Society charity and analysed Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey (MENE) data from nearly 8,000 people collected by Natural England between 2009 and 2016.

The headline findings of the research include:

  • people who spend time in the garden are significantly more likely to report general good health.
  • the benefits of gardening to health and wellbeing were similar to the difference in health between people living in the wealthiest parts of the country, compared to the poorest.
  • people who regularly spend time in their garden were also more likely to visit nature elsewhere.
  • people with access to a private garden had higher psychological wellbeing.

Marian Spain, Chief Executive of Natural England, said:

“In these unprecedented times, the government’s priority continues to be making sure people stay at home to help protect the NHS and save lives. The benefits of spending time around nature during this time, be that in our back gardens or in local green spaces as part of our daily exercise, cannot be underestimated – and this research shines a light on the impact this has on people’s health and wellbeing.

“We know that not everyone has easy access to nature or green spaces, and that’s why we’ve launched our #BetterWithNature campaign to inspire more people to connect with nature safely during this period. Longer term, this campaign aims to bring the benefits of nature to as many people as possible through initiatives like our Nature Recovery Network, which will see more green spaces created near where people live and work.”

Natural England has recently launched the #BetterWithNature campaign on social media and aims to inspire more people to connect with nature safely during the coronavirus pandemic to improve health and wellbeing.

MENE is the world’s longest-running survey collecting data on people’s weekly contact with the natural world. Natural England is committed to promoting health and wellbeing through the natural environment, helping more people from a wider cross-section of society benefit directly from the environment.

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