In the News
Inequalities in accessing the countryside
The BBC have reported that for some sections of the population, the countryside is not a place they can access or feel comfortable in.
The report - Countryside: Who really has access to the great outdoors? discusses some of the barriers to accessing the countryside that individuals may experience. These can range from a lack of financial resources, to social or cultural barriers, such as walking in the countryside not being a usual pursuit of some groups of people.
The benefits of physical activity are well known - improved brain health, weight management, reduced risks of illness and disease, strengthened bones and muscles and so on. Although less well documented, evidence suggests that physical activity in the countryside has additional benefits, such as improved mood, reduced stress, improved community cohesion and more. But it is important for those working in health and social care to be aware that not everyone feels they can participate in activity in the countryside.
Various initiatives have been established to extend access to the countryside, including Muslim Hikers (pictured above), founded during the pandemic to combat loneliness and isolation and encourage more British Muslims to participate in physical activity outside. Similarly, there are programmes designed to encourage young people, who, through their social circumstances, have fewer chances of experiencing national parks and countryside spaces. One great example of this is Green Spaces, Dark Skies