Visitors enjoying the East Devon countryside

East Devon Countryside Team welcome record number of visitors in 2015

Research has revealed that green spaces and the countryside are more popular with the public than ever.

And East Devon District Council’s Countryside Team can vouch for that as latest figures reveal that record numbers of people visited their stunning sites in 2015.

Natural England, Defra and the Forestry Commission commissioned research  which shows that the public’s enthusiasm for spending time outside for relaxing, watching wildlife, enjoying the scenery and keeping healthy is the highest it’s been since records began.

The data shows that 44% of the population visit natural environments at least once a week, making a total of 3.12 billion visits made by adults between March 2014 and February 2015. More than eight out of ten people surveyed, agreed that being outdoors contributed to their health and wellbeing by making them feel ‘calm and relaxed’ and ‘refreshed and revitalised’.

The East Devon Countryside Team is delighted with the positive results of the survey which, demonstrates the value natural sites have on the public’s wellbeing.

Throughout 2015, the Countryside Team welcomed a record number of visitors with their events soaring in popularity. More than 70% of the events were fully booked with over 3,500 local people and tourists taking part in exploring the natural environment and enjoying the many benefits it can offer.

Visitors also included volunteers who dedicated over 4500 hours working on sites, doing conservation and maintenance work and promoting the sites to the public.

The Council's Environment Portfolio Holder Cllr Iain Chubb said:

I’m really proud of the work that the Council’s Countryside Team has carried out and the fact all our events and visitor numbers are up on last year shows how much our local residents and visitors love our coast and countryside.

Without a doubt East Devon is one of the most beautiful areas in the South West and so we can only benefit from engaging more directly with our countryside.

The team is currently putting together the East Devon Spring/ Summer events guide and is looking forward to encouraging more people to explore their natural environment through volunteering, taking part in organised events or visiting sites in their spare time.