By Laura Shakespeare, Fundraising Officer
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks”
– John Muir
It has long been recognised that a countryside walk, breathing in the fresh air and observing the goings on of nature, can be a welcome tonic to our often hectic lives. It is certainly much more difficult to worry about the weekly office politics when the sun is shining, flowers are in bloom and bumblebees are busily working away around you.
Indeed, there is a growing collection of literature and studies claiming to have definitively proven the positive physiological and psychological benefits of nature on well-being. This has ranged from reduction in anxiety and tension, restoration of attention span, as well as inducing a sense of calm and oneness. Not to mention those gallivanting around the great outdoors, keeping active, are said to be more likely to have better health in general, and particularly be benefitting their cardiovascular and respiratory system.
One such study by both the University of Derby and The Wildlife Trusts, set out to determine the impact of human interaction with nature after their “30 Days Wild” campaign. Amazingly, the study showed that throughout the campaign there was a scientifically significant increase in people’s health and happiness, their connection to nature and participation in active nature behaviours, such as bee-friendly planting or feeding the birds. These benefits were also found to be long-lasting, persisting for months after the challenge ended. Similar studies have also suggested that increased time outdoors for children can boost self-esteem, and be valuable in both building feelings of empathy for wildlife and a sense of responsibility and caring for the environment (in addition to, sadly, much larger amounts of washing).
On a more practical level, biodiversity supports critical ecosystem services for the human population, such as food and raw materials that support lives and livelihoods. Bumblebees and other pollinators are important and cherished components of this crucial link, and provide a compelling example of the partnership between biodiversity and human health and welfare. Pollination is vital for many of the nation’s wild plants and it helps to maintain affordable five-a-day fruit and vegetables, having a direct impact on human welfare. Pollinating around 80% of our wildflower species, Bumblebees also work to support the wider ecosystem, creating the multi-coloured and diverse outdoor spaces we can all gain enjoyment from.
Here at the Trust we rely on the generosity of others to allow us to continue our conservation and outreach work. One company looking to support the Trust in our mission to create countryside rich in buzzing bumblebees and colourful wildflowers, supporting the incredible biodiversity we have in the UK, is Cottage Holidays. We asked our new corporate member for a few words about themselves, and their connection to our beautiful British countryside.
Cottage Holidays draws together the properties from The Original Cottage Company family of sixteen local brands based in some of the most beautiful locations in the UK.
This all began as an idea at the dining table of a family cottage in the heart of Norfolk. Today, that very idea has grown to become the largest, family-owned, independent holiday cottage company in the country with no signs of anything slowing down.
Throughout the family of brands, we have over 3,000 cottages on offer, meaning we have plenty to choose from – this is something that must have seemed beyond the imagination of Richard & Lesley Ellis at that dining table in the 1990’s. Our properties and their locations proudly show off all corners of our beautiful island, from beach, to mountain, to countryside and everything in between.
The properties themselves can be quirky, luxurious, hidden gems, by the beach, in the country, in the hustle, miles away or just round the corner - in fact, with over 3,000 cottages to choose from, they can be whatever you want them to be. All of them however epitomise the traditional British holiday and make the perfect HQ for a carefree and luxury break, getting away from the stresses, strife and mundanity of everyday life and being the backdrop to fun, irreverence & a lifetime of memories.
We care strongly about nature and conservation, a number of our properties hidden within the beauty of the British countryside – making them the ideal place to explore and enjoy our natural heritage.