Eighty-eight per cent of Cumbrians believe being in nature has helped them cope with the stress and restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cumbria Wildlife Trust recently contacted more than 1,000 supporters and they responded overwhelmingly that their mental health and wellbeing had benefitted from being in the natural world.
Of the respondents to the Nature and You survey sent out by the trust, more than half (55 per cent) said that nature had become more important to them during lockdown and 68 per cent said they spent more time noticing nature.
While the majority of people accessed nature in their garden or private space (91 per cent), around half had enjoyed it on the coast (54 per cent) or at nature reserves (50 per cent) and 41 per cent noticed wildlife on roadside verges.
One respondent told the trust: “Without being able to walk in nature in the countryside, I know I wouldn’t have coped so well with the lockdown. Truly a mental health lifesaver.”
Others said: “We don’t know what we would have done without our local natural spaces”, “I have become aware of the calming influence of nature”, and “During these troubling times in the world, it has been great to escape and enjoy the pleasures of nature”, while another person said that she found her coastal walks “a balm for my bruised soul after the death of my mum.”
Stephen Trotter, CEO of Cumbria Wildlife Trust said: “Thank you to all those who responded to our survey. It’s clear that a great many of us have found solace in the natural world during this past very difficult year.
“It’s also encouraging to see that many people have spent more time noticing nature than usual, and a third said they’d discovered wildlife they hadn’t seen before.
“Staying connected with nature does us all good, as we emerge cautiously from lockdown.”
Stephen continued: “A great way to get closer to nature is by joining us for 30 Days Wild, throughout the month of June. We’re encouraging everyone to do a ‘random act of wildness’ every day for a month – even if it’s just for a few minutes, from taking time to enjoy the sunset or watching a bee buzzing round your window box, to exploring a new nature reserve.
“Working with the University of Derby, The Wildlife Trusts have demonstrated that 30 Days Wild is a proven way of boosting your mood, health, and sense of connection to nature. Why not give it a go?”.
To sign up for 30 Days Wild and get free activities go to https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/30-days-wild-2021-sign-your-pack