Being outdoors brings with it a wide range of benefits to mental and physical wellbeing, many of which have helped people to cope with the lockdowns and social isolation that we’ve had to endure during the pandemic. Our local countryside has never seen so many people walking and cycling and hopefully once the pandemic isn’t at the forefront of everyone’s minds, local people will have established being outdoors as part of their routine and will continue to take part in outdoor recreation.
Calderdale’s Countryside Service have lots to contribute to the health and wellbeing agenda. We manage some wonderful places that are very dear to the residents of Calderdale including Ogden Water, Jerusalem Farm and Cromwell Bottom. These places have proved invaluable to many visitors during the lockdowns and visitor numbers have shown a significant rise. Just being outdoors in a wood or walking on the moors helps with feelings of wellbeing and reduces stress.
To help look after our sites and maintain the rights of way network, we are heavily reliant on the assistance of volunteers to be able to build stiles, cut back vegetation, plant trees and a myriad of other things. We benefit hugely from the support we get but at the same time, we offer our volunteers support, friendship and a chance to exercise outdoors, so it is a two way relationship from which everyone benefits. Volunteer work parties are hoped to start in the next few weeks, so please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to know more.
Another aspect of the Countryside Service’s work which has benefits for people’s wellbeing is the events we ran pre-COVID. These include family events such as bird box building, mini beast hunts and kite making, and those aimed at adults such as our gardening events, where we focus on basic gardening skills such as planting up containers and baskets. The Countryside Team are hoping to start running events again as soon as it is safe to do so.