The pivotal role played by East Anglia’s countryside in boosting people’s wellbeing is highlighted in a new survey.
Almost nine out of 10 (88%) people questioned in towns and cities across the region said that visiting the countryside and farmland over the past year had improved their physical or mental wellbeing. Just over half (51%) said it helped to improve both.
More than one third (36%) said they spent more time in the countryside during lockdown and 45% said they had a greater appreciation of the British countryside and farmland than they did a year ago.
NFU Regional Director Gary Ford said: “For much of the lockdown, visiting the countryside was the only recreation and exercise many people were able to enjoy. It’s heartening to discover this really has boosted the nation’s health and wellbeing.
“The survey confirms that connecting people with rural areas they may never have visited before can leave a long-term positive legacy of greater appreciation of the countryside as well as, importantly, improving health and wellbeing.
“Countless popular rural tourist spots throughout East Anglia are located on working farmland, and farmers work hard to maintain footpaths and public rights of way so visitors can enjoy our beautiful countryside.
“Recognising this, and to inform visitors using footpaths of what is happening on farmland, we have created a suite of new footpath signs that enable people to see what’s growing, or grazing, in fields.”
The role farmland plays in boosting physical and mental wellbeing is highlighted in the NFU’s Levelling Up Rural Britain report, launched in February.