A new map has been created to encourage more people to make the most of Peterborough’s parks.
The Cambs Open Space map is the centrepiece of a new Lets Get Outdoors campaign which will encourage people to get out and enjoy nearby green spaces.
The pandemic has made many realise the huge benefits which come from being out and about, with a survey carried out by Natural England showing that during Covid restrictions 43% of people found visiting local green and natural spaces became more important to their wellbeing.
The map, which can accessed by visiting https://www.cambsopenspace.co.uk/parks, has brought together 200 local parks into one easy to navigate site. Visitors to the page can search for parks in all parts of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, including those which are nearest to them. Each park has its own designated page with a list of facilities and local volunteer groups.
Similarly, there is also an ‘events’ page where people can see a list of all events happening at parks across both areas. These include everything from runs, nature walks and sporting activities to poetry sessions.
The campaign hopes to reduce loneliness by urging people to ‘find their spark in the park’. Running throughout the rest of spring and into the summer, the campaign will ask people to share photos of themselves enjoying their local park, as well as encourage people to get involved in local community activities outdoors.
Robert Pearce, programme director for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Future Parks, which is running the campaign, said: “We are so pleased to be launching Cambs Open Space this spring.
“Cambs Open Space came into being through the collective effort of the partnership and a shared ambition to enable people to make the most of their parks and green spaces. Our green spaces are important community places, they are great for people’s physical and mental health, and provide safe habitats for local wildlife.
“Over the past few years people have come to appreciate their parks more than ever. We hope people will use the Cambs Open Space map to continue exploring Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s fantastic outdoor spaces.”
Frequent visits to green spaces are associated with a healthier bodyweight, as well as better heart rates, blood pressure, cholesterol and stress levels.
Regular exposure to green spaces is also generally associated with improved mental health and wellbeing in both adults and children.
Visitors to parks can enjoy their natural beauty while taking a walk or run (perhaps in a group), or by making use of outdoor gym/play equipment or embracing the many sounds and sights of nature.
For people looking for inspiration to make the most of their local park, ideas include ‘Couch to 5K’ and ‘10 Minute Shake Up games’. More information on both can be found at: https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/get-active/ and https://www.nhs.uk/healthier-families/activities/10-minute-shake-up/.
The #LetsGetOutdoors campaign is part of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Future Parks Project, a partnership project between seven local authorities in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and the Local Nature Partnership. The project is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the National Trust and the Ministry of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
The new website is managed by project partners Living Sport.
Frazer Bennett, chair of Living Sport, said: “Living Sport are happy to be managing the new Cambs Open Space website. It’s a super opportunity to connect different aspects of our work to support more people to be active outside through promoting spaces, events and supporting the voluntary groups that look after and use the parks across our county.”