Outdoors hillwalking

There’s fewer people heading to the great outdoors

When the weekend arrives, that’s the time many of us have been waiting for so we can leave our homes and sample the joys of the great outdoors.

However, those who look to get active and see the best of what Scotland has to offer, are finding themselves in reduced numbers.

That’s according to new research commissioned on behalf of Jordans Cereals and the Jordans Farm Partnership, which reveals half of the nation doesn’t have time to get outdoors and explore nature.

In 2016 Jordans launched the Jordans Farm Partnership, a unique collaboration between Jordans’ 42 oat farmers, LEAF, The Prince’s Countryside Fund and The Wildlife Trusts.

The partnership was set up to improve the sustainability of all Jordans farms, support British wildlife by giving over 10% of working farmland to wildlife conservation and to support rural communities most in need. The partnership also seeks to encourage more people to get outdoors and into nature.

This recent in-depth report highlights the extent to which the UK has become an indoor nation, with us spending a staggering 142 hours a week indoors, including in the office, at the shops, watching TV at home or in the car, or on public transport.

The study shows 15 percent complain that they don’t have anywhere picturesque nearby that they can visit, with more than one in ten (13 percent) stating that they are unable to afford the costs of travelling to the countryside, to take in the beautiful scenery many areas in the UK have to offer.

According to the new data, the nation spends as little as 26 hours a week outside, which over an adult lifetime (18-81) equates to 53 years spent inside and just one decade outdoors, enjoying fresh air and nature.

A third state that they never get the chance to swim in the sea, with nearly one in ten (eight per cent) revealing that they can’t remember the last time they went for a walk or saw wildlife or greenery, although 52 percent would like to have time to walk along a coastal path.

Caroline Drummond MBE, chief executive at LEAF, said: ‘These results suggest that sadly many people are missing out on all that the countryside has to offer, but the good news is that they are certainly interested in wanting to find ways to connect.

‘From nature walks to finding out about why worms, beetles and bees are so important to the fabric of our countryside, as well as our food and farming, this is all key.

‘Spending time outdoors benefits our mental and physical health, and wellbeing – important for us all, including young people. Something as simple as going for a walk or visiting a farm can make a massive impact.

‘LEAF is working with Jordans and others across the industry with initiatives including FaceTime a Farmer and deeper educational opportunities. With so much interest in food, farming and the countryside as the research has demonstrated, we welcome an opportunity for a stronger dialogue with society to identify new ways to bridge the rural urban gap.’

A further 37 percent of Brits said they have no connection to wildlife in their everyday life, with 85 percent saying they have not fed the ducks with their children recently or had time to go fishing.

Findings also show the average adult has not even visited a local park or green space in the last few months – while ten percent of adults said they could only manage to identify ONE type of tree by sight – and nearly half (47 percent) couldn’t remember the last time they set foot on a farm.

In all fairness, results found the unpredictable British weather stops many Brits from heading out of the house, with the typical adult spending twice as long outside in the summer as they do in the winter. Sadly, 85 per cent said they would love to spend more time in the open air and seven percent of those said they would have no idea where to go if they were to go out.

Other reasons for not venturing outside included mobility problems, not having a companion to go with and children preferring to stay indoors.

Janel Fone, director at the Wildlife Trusts, said: ‘We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience the joy of wildlife and wild places in their daily lives and this research by Jordans highlights that that the majority of us would like to spend more time in the open air.

‘The Wildlife Trusts have over 2,000 nature reserves and hundreds of events across the UK to help people connect with and be inspired by the nature around them. We are proud to be working with a company like Jordans Cereals who, through their work with farmers, are making a positive difference to the natural world and helping The Wildlife Trusts achieve its vision of land rich in wildlife.’

Alex Murphy, marketing manager at Jordans Cereals, said: ‘From the British weather to money woes, this new research reveals that there are a number of reasons as to why us Brits don’t go outside as much as we’d like to, resulting in a disconnection with nature.

‘Whether it’s a five-minute stroll, trip to your local park, or somewhere further afield, we hope Brits are encouraged to get out there into the great outdoors as much as possible. We’re also doing our bit by working with our farms to ensure they’re sustainable, supportive of wildlife and have the least impact possible on our great outdoors.’