A short distance to a green space, Monty Seager, Hampton School – Young Reporter
In January the UK government released an Environmental Improvement Plan for 2023 which aims to improve and restore the environment and nature. The intention is to create new wildlife habitats and restore existing nature reserves so that everyone in England lives within 15 minutes’ walk of a green space.
Green spaces improve air quality, reduce noise and enhance biodiversity and through these reduce the environmental health risks associated with urban living. In addition green spaces are wonderful places to promote social interaction within the community and family or friend activities. The greatest power a green space has is on personal wellbeing, the ability to relieve stress and anxiety, a place to just be present in the moment and free the congested mind from stressors. There has been much research recently to link nature to physical and mental health.
Green spaces provide the right venue for exercise, individually or as a group. Walking, running, cycling, parents with buggies in keep fit classes or yoga groups, the opportunities are many.
Similarly they provide a fantastic scene for social activities, picnics, and gatherings. These kind of activities enhances social and community cohesion and a sense of belonging and increase individuals personal desire to look after the environment. The more we use it and appreciate it, the better we will look after it.
Within the locality of Wraysbury, Datchet and Horton we are fortunate to have access to many areas of natural green spaces. Besides the ‘greens’ at the centre of the villages, there are a multitude of National Trust walks and sights nearby such as Ankerwyke, Runnymede, Dorneywood Gardens, Cliveden, Maidenhead and Cookham Commons and of course the obvious Windsor Great Park. Perhaps less well known Savill Garden, Bedfont lakes, Waltham Place, and RSPB nature reserve of Church Mead and the Woodland Trusts Arthur Jacob Nature Reserve. All these in addition to the many waterside walks available along the River Thames, much of which will fit the government intention to be within 15 minutes walk of a green space for local residents.
There are many benefits to physical and mental health, social relationships and to the environment itself for us all to be out enjoying the natural wildlife and beauty in our local area.