More than a year on from the first national lockdown in spring 2020, the Office for National Statistics looks at how people's perception of nature changed during the pandemic and whether this is likely to continue as restrictions ease.

The research highlights how nature has been a source of solace for many, as lockdown rules were heightened our appreciation for local parks and green spaces. These areas within walking distance of home – have become wildlife-watching spots and gyms.

The research found that along with the rise in outdoor exercise, people’s interest in nature surged. In May 2020, 36% of people responding to the People and Nature Survey by Natural England said they were spending more time outside during the pandemic than before. This rose to 46% in July 2020.

Local green and natural spaces have been important for well-being during the pandemic, however the research found that not everyone has equal access to the green space they need to improve their personal wellbeing.

There is a clear connection between how people have been using the outdoors under coronavirus restrictions and the distance between green spaces and their doorstep.

Read the report

Better Outside - using our spaces more

At greenspace scotland we’ve always talked about parks and greenspace as our natural health service, our children’s outdoor classrooms, our community and leisure centres without a roof. Now we need them more than ever.

During the first lockdown we heard lots of heart-warming stories of how local greenspaces, communal gardens, back greens and back courts were helping people connect and cope with the lockdown. There were home-gardening packs, colourful potato sacks, bug bingo, yarn bombing of rainbows and butterflies, and shopping drop offs for older neighbours who were getting through flour supplies at a rate comparable to the Bake Off tent! As lockdown restrictions started to ease, many groups started to find ways of taking the indoors – outdoors, moving activities from community centres, village halls, schools and leisure centres into local parks and greenspaces.

Find out more about the greenspace scotland Better Outside resources