by Phil Edwards, Bushy Park Manager, The Royal Parks Charity
Just 20 minutes in the park can blast away your winter blues
It might be cold outside, but there are still lots of things to do in Bushy and Richmond Parks.
And what better way to enjoy your time in the parks then getting to know a bit about the wonderful wildlife that call the space their home. We’ve got a tonne of learning resources on our web site – such as this winter wonders wildlife spotter guide which you can download here: Download the ‘Winter Wonders’ spotter guide for starters.
Spotting the wonders of nature is great fun for all the family – so keep your eyes peeled on your next walk round the park and see what you can discover.
But on a more serious note, spending time in beautiful natural surroundings can do a huge amount for our wellbeing. And it’s been a tough year for many.
Research shows that while most people in the UK are coping well with stress caused by the pandemic, there are many who are struggling, and their mental health has been negatively affected by anxiety, loneliness and boredom. As the restrictions continue, people’s ability to cope has declined.
But spending time outdoors in green spaces benefits both mind and body.
Check these stats: Almost two thirds, (59%), of the UK adult population surveyed by the Mental Health Foundation found that going for a walk outside helped them cope with stress caused by the pandemic, and half of UK adults visited green space to help them cope.
So we at The Royal Parks – the charity which cares for London’s eight historic Royal Parks and other important green spaces in the city – are running our ‘Welcome Winter’ campaign, to encourage Londoners to embrace the fantastic environment and nature on their doorstep, whatever the weather. The campaign is being supported by Public Health England and Thrive LDN – a citywide movement to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all Londoners.
We’re calling on everyone in the Teddington and Twickenham area as well as city dwellers everywhere to wrap up warm, grab an umbrella and get outdoors. There’s a lot to be said for getting that daily dose of daylight to blast off those winter blues during the dark months ahead.
Just a 20-minute walk outdoors can do wonders for your mood and helps keep you healthy.
As park manager for Bushy Park, I feel lucky to spend so much time here myself. The parks are beautiful in winter, even as the trees lose their leaves and the temperature drops. The days are crisp and invigorating. The air is fresh. It can be magical experiencing the mysterious atmosphere of a rainy day.
Winter is still a great time to connect with nature, relax and stay fit– whether that’s by walking, jogging or cycling.
And the parks cover some 5,000 acres across London so there is plenty of space to spread out safely. And they are free for everyone to use
Put simply, a walk in the park makes you feel better.