Children rock pooling at Jacob's Ladder in Sidmouth

Events delivered by the East Devon District Council Countryside team could help improve your families’ health

East Devon’s Countryside team has welcomed a report produced by the Institute of European Environmental Policy for Friends of the Earth Europe which has revealed the many benefits of time spent outdoors.

The report demonstrates that obesity, mental health problems, social exclusion and exposure to light and noise pollution are often determined by wealth, with those from lower income families at higher risk (Lee & Maheswaran, 2011).

The report explores the many benefits time spent in rural environments has on health including; reducing childhood behavioural problems (Amoly et al, 2014), improving mental health (White et al, 2013) and reducing the chance of allergies in children (Ruokolainen et al, 2015).

The study suggests that improving access to nature and the natural areas is the key to tackling inequalities.

The East Devon District Council Countryside team has recently produced an all-sites guide to their nature reserves and a bi-annual events guide, which is available in local tourist information centres and libraries. These resources are to encourage people to explore their local nature reserves and take part in outdoor events.

The team is working with the East Devon Housing service to encourage people from all socio-economic backgrounds to access nature and natural areas and is offering discounted and free spaces on events for East Devon District Council housing tenants.

Countryside team leader (People), Tim Dafforn said:

The countryside is an amazing free resource with many health related benefits, as the research has shown. For this reason the Countryside team is keen to encourage people to engage with the outdoors as much as possible!

By working with the Housing department we enable people from different backgrounds to enjoy wild East Devon. Our events aim to equip families with ideas, activities and the confidence to return to nature reserves and explore them again and again.

The Countryside team run events throughout the year which range from guided bird watching sessions through to rock pooling. For more information on the team and events delivered visit: wildeastdevon.co.uk or contact them via email: countryside@eastdevon.gov.uk or by phoning: 01395 517557.