Commissioned by NatureScot with support from Public Health Scotland research in to Valuing the health and well-being benefits of the NHS outdoor estate in Scotland has been published.

Spending time in green space and access to green space for associated physical exercise, recreation and social networking provides benefits to physical health, mental health and well-being across the life-course. The NHS in Scotland own a considerable outdoor greenspace estate across 14 Health Boards, 7 special Health Boards and Public Health Scotland.

Public Health Scotland and NatureScot have been working with Scottish Health Boards through the Green Exercise Partnership and four NHS Greenspace for Health Partnerships to help deliver infrastructure improvements and activate the outdoor estate. 

The predominant uses identified by survey respondents included: walking, secure bicycle storage, active travel to and from work, picnic areas, informal recreational gardening, cycling, running, informal social gatherings, outdoor therapeutic interventions or rehabilitation and organised fitness sessions.

The survey has also shown a reasonable level of awareness of the potential of the outdoor estate, with scope to extend this and build on it in securing greater engagement with the outdoor estate. Other organisations, for example local authorities, health and well-being and other charities and local groups, are also involved in the use of the estate, and it should be possible to build on this in the development of future uses of the estate.

Read the report