The UK’s most nature-rich locations
Most of us tend to believe in the ‘magical’ powers being among nature can have on our general wellbeing, with a walk in the park or a hike up to a breath-taking viewpoint often offering an instant endorphin boost.
Curious to discover whether there’s an actual correlation between a location’s wealth in nature and its residents’ happiness and anxiety levels, we calculated its combined nature score (based on number of green spaces, mountains, bathing waters, beaches and campsites) and cross referenced that with its respective wellbeing scores.
In doing so, we found out that… Most notably, proximity to more nature merely demonstrates a mild positive correlation (0.08) with happiness levels across UK counties, indicating that being next to nature might have little to no effect on how happy we are. However, looking at anxiety levels, across London boroughs specifically, we discovered a moderate negative correlation (-0.4) with proximity to nature, suggesting nature might contribute to Londoners’ anxiety.
Perhaps most surprisingly of all, out study has revealed the London borough most rich in nature (green spaces including parks, gardens etc.) is the borough of Westminster. Inner London may not appear synonymous with nature and green space at first glance but, Westminster actually counts 109 green spaces, almost double the amount of the second-ranking nature-rich borough, Tower Hamlets.
Southwark, Sutton and Camden follow as the third, fourth and fifth wealthiest boroughs, respectively, when it comes to green spaces. Redbridge, Havering and Barking and Dagenham have the least green spaces of all London boroughs (exc. City of London).
Taking a look at the rest of the country, the counties richest in nature have been revealed as Cornwall, Devon and North Yorkshire.
Cornwall’s 286 campsites, 157 green spaces, 103 beaches, 24 bathing waters and 7 valleys, positions it as the wealthiest county in nature, whereas on the happiness index, the county ranks 26th.
Neighbouring county Devon ranks a lot higher on the happiness index (6th) whilst boasting 570 ‘nature sites’. North Yorkshire follows with its 485 nature sites, whilst ranking sixteenth in the happiness index.
Completing the top ten are West Yorkshire, Kent, Cumbria, South Yorkshire, West Midlands, East Yorkshire and finally Norfolk.
Although little parallels can be drawn between nature and the nation’s happiness levels, it’s interesting to discover how proximity to nature can be having a negative effect on Londoners’ anxiety levels. Even more so, to find out that London is home to more green space than most assume. If you happen to be looking to find the perfect balance between wellbeing and nature, we hope out tool will help you make your decision.
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