28 Aug 2020

Survey shows more Scots turning to nature

The COVID-19 lockdown affected people in many ways.

For most it threw up a range of emotions both positive and negative and this has a big affect on a person's well-being.

Exercise during lockdown has been very important. People often took to the great outdoors for exercise and to recharge their batteries or de-stress.

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During lockdown, there was an increase in the number of people visiting the outdoors to enjoy nature and stay healthy. This connection with nature and greenspace has been a big positive.

Scottish Forestry, Paths For All and Cairngorm National Park Authority co-funded a survey, managed by NatureScot, which explored the publics’ relationship with nature during lockdown. 

Of the people surveyed, it revealed that Scots took more outdoor exercise and expect to continue this as restrictions lift.

Here’s some interesting findings:

 70% cited health as a motivator for getting outdoors:
 More than 1 in 3 people specifically referenced managing stress as a reason for exercising outdoors (35%);
 63% of stated their outdoor experiences had helped them de-stress, relax and unwind, and 58% felt energised and revitalised; and
 34% of Scots were getting a daily dose of nature, compared to 22% prior to lockdown.

The survey also showed:

 71% of people are heading outside at least once a week, up from 59%; and
 89% of outdoor visitors took regular local walks (an increase from 77%) and around 20% are running or cycling (up from 5%).

Dog walking

A second phase of this survey will start on 5th September.

This will determine how behaviour and attitudes with outdoor recreation with nature have changed, if at all, since the first (stay at home) phase of lockdown. The results will allow us to make a comparison with this time last year.

We know that forests and woodlands are fantastic places to get away from it all and find nature. We recommend you visit one soon.

The full survey is available here.