West scenery boosts mental health

03 August 2021

The farmed landscape of the South West played a crucial role in helping to maintain people’s mental and physical wellbeing during the lockdown, according to research commissioned by the NFU.

The survey of 2,009 adults who lived outside rural areas revealed that 57% of those in the region who had visited the countryside since March 2020 felt that the experience had improved both their physical and mental wellbeing.

About 43% said their appreciation of the British countryside and the farmed landscape had increased during the past 12 months.Just over a fifth of people (22%) said they spent between 16 and 20 hours a month outdoors, with most people (32%) spending three to five hours a month out in the country.

With many restrictions being imposed due to lockdown, enjoying the landscape became even more important for many with 35% of respondents saying they had spent more time walking in, or visiting, the countryside.

This trend looks set to continue, as the difficulties of holidaying abroad mean more of us are thinking of a ‘staycation’ at home. Some 55% of people who normally holidayed abroad said they were planning a break in the UK this year.

The increased number of people visiting the countryside has caused problems on occasion for farmers and landowners, but the vast majority of respondents (77%) said they were either fully or partially aware of the Countryside Code, with just 23% saying they were unaware of it.

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