Accessing green spaces in coronavirus times
We’ve been talking to some of our volunteers about how lockdown and the ban on travel for outdoor exercise affected them. Aidan, a student at the University of Liverpool and a CPRE volunteer, shares his experience.
During the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic and during the strictest period of national lockdown, I was staying at my home in Oxfordshire, where I tried to make the most of my allotted daily hour of exercise. Having quick access to the countryside and some beautiful green spaces around the River Thames was hugely beneficial to me, as I went on regular runs and walks in these areas to maintain both a good level of fitness and sound mental health during what was a difficult period for everyone up and down the country.
In more recent weeks, I have been staying in Liverpool where I am a student. Liverpool has an impressive range of parks, many dating back to Victorian times. With the lockdown restrictions continuing to ease, I have been able to meet friends in Sefton Park and Everton Park, as well as continuing to maintain fitness through running in Stanley Park, Princes Park and Calderstones Park. I was also able to go further afield to the beautiful beach and nature reserve in Formby.
I have therefore experienced two different sides to green spaces during the last few months – with the countryside and open green spaces in and around Oxfordshire and Formby, as well as the city parks in the much more urban landscape of Liverpool. Whilst both are great spaces to visit and make use of during a period in which we have been spending more time within the confines of our homes, it is the parks in Liverpool in particular which demonstrate the value of our green spaces on the doorstep and the consequent need to preserve them. Having wonderful large parks located within dense areas of an inner city can do the world of good for local people, as therapeutic places to relax, exercise and generally escape from the everyday stresses of city life.
In what continues to be a period of uncertainty, just getting outside and exercising in nature – whether open countryside or urban greenspace – has been incredibly valuable for both my physical and mental wellbeing. The current situation only reinforces the value and importance of caring for and making the most of our beautiful countryside and green spaces.