NatureScot is asking us all to Make Space for Nature

An increase in people visiting the outdoors and engaging with nature continued long after lockdown eased, according to a new survey.

Take a walk on the wild side...this autumn to help maintain your well-being but please mind the Scottish Outdoor Access Code when you do. (Pic: Lorne Gill)
Take a walk on the wild side...this autumn to help maintain your well-being but please mind the Scottish Outdoor Access Code when you do. (Pic: Lorne Gill)

NatureScot has published the second wave of research into how our relationship with the outdoors and nature changed as a result of Covid-19.

Carried out in partnership with Scottish Forestry, the Cairngorms National Park Authority and Paths for All, the research was revealed as NatureScot launched its autumn Make Space for Nature campaign – encouraging people to take part in simple, fun activities to help nature thrive.

The latest survey of more than 1100 people found that during August to September levels of participation increased, with 80 per cent of adults visiting the outdoors at least once a week.

Robin bathing...in a garden pond is a joy to behold and one of many simple pleasures we can all enjoy when we take time out to enjoy nature. (Pic: Fergus Gill)

That figure was up from 74 per cent during the initial period of lockdown from March to May.

An increased proportion reported that after spending time outdoors they felt that they had gained health and well-being benefits – 70 per cent felt it helped them de-stress and 56 per cent agreed that it improved their physical health.

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Overall 49 per cent expect to increase their time outdoors in future, including 20 per cent who’d like to spend ‘a lot more’ time outdoors.

Francesca Osowska, NatureScot chief executive, said: “It’s very encouraging to see that the increased connection to our natural world many reported during lockdown appears to have been sustained as restrictions eased.

We were busy bees in the summer, enjoying all that Scotland has to offer but there's no need for that to end now, even though you won't see bees at this times of year! (Pic: Lorne Gill)

“We know how important nature is for us all, both physically and emotionally.

“Our new campaign aims to help everyone Make Space for Nature in their lives with simple tips and ideas, from taking time to listen to birdsong to getting involved in citizen science on the doorstep.

“We want to continue to support people on their journey to caring for nature and experiencing all the benefits that can bring.”

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Around a third of people in the second wave of the research encountered litter, fly tipping or human waste and a lack of public toilet facilities on their outdoor visits.

So NatureScot is promoting the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, encouraging people to enjoy nature responsibly.

To find out more, visit www.nature.scot.