The grass isn’t always greener… but there’s more of it (in some places)

By Rupert Lloyd and Mark Ferguson (ECEHH)

Do me a favour and imagine you’re in a place where you feel calm and relaxed.

I’ll guess you’re not thinking of a busy road, a town centre or a supermarket. Is it somewhere with a bit of greenery or nature in it? ¬†Maybe a park, a garden or perhaps your local woodland?

If you thought of a green or natural space then I hope it’s somewhere you can visit easily. Why? Because we know that spending time in greenspace is good for us, but to get the most benefit we need to do it regularly.

For many of us though, this can be challenging. Especially for the growing number of us who live in urban areas, where distance, infrastructure, cost and unfamiliarity can all limit our ability to visit those spaces.

An important question is how much greenspace do we need and how close should it be for us to enjoy the health benefits it can bring? The World Health Organisation’s answer is that all of us should live within 300 metres safe walk of a greenspace that’s bigger than half a hectare.

Public Health Dorset and the European Centre for the Environment and Human Health (ECEHH)at the University of Exeter have worked together to create Dorset Green Health. This project helps us to understand how access to greenspace and the health benefits it can bring varies locally. We’re using it to help highlight opportunities to make greenspace more accessible where it might be needed most. Because we think that if more of us are able to have contact with greenspace as part of everyday then more of us can enjoy the benefits it brings.

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