nature for health & recreation
We are only just beginning to understand the effect of nature on human health. According to the mental health charity Mind, one in six of the UK population suffers from depression, anxiety, stress, phobias, suicidal impulses, obsessive compulsive disorders and panic attacks.
This costs the National Health Service £12.5 billion, the economy £23.1 billion in lost output, and £41.8 billion in the human costs of reduced quality of life and loss of life.
Studies show that symptoms of all these disorders are alleviated with time spent in nature. Even the sight of nature has curative effects. Health Services have found that hospital patients need fewer painkillers after surgery and recover much faster if they have views of nature from their bed. Leeds Beckett University showed that wildlife programmes designed for people with a health or social need showed a return of £6.88 for every £1 invested.
We need wild spaces – not just parks and gardens, but areas of our countryside that are teeming with wildlife. This human connection with dynamic, wild places is something that stems from the most primal part of our brain, when we evolved as hunter-gatherers on the savannas of Africa.
The feedback we get from visitors coming on our safaris, staying at our campsite and walking our public footpaths is a joy. It seems the more urbanised we become as a society, the more we like and need to spend our spare time immersed in nature. Nothing, of course, brought home the restorative effects of nature more than COVID and Knepp received unprecedented numbers of visitors after the long lockdowns.
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