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A visit to the North York Moors

Sarah Falkingham is on the North York Moors to find out about the health and well-being benefits of being outdoors and why a price has been put on that for the first time.

Sarah Falkingham is on the North York Moors What to find out about the health and well-being impact of visiting a National Park and why a price has been put on that. Boxing Day is traditionally a day for getting outdoors and there’s a growing body of evidence about the benefits of connecting with nature. For the first time researchers have put a price on the value of spending time in one of the UK's National Parks. Specifically they looked at the impact of taking up a new activity which involves getting fitter, learning a new skill or making new friends through voluntary work. It’s called Social Return on Investment and the study, by researchers at the University of York, estimates that for every £1 invested the North York Moors National Park generates over £7 of health and well-being benefits for visitors and volunteers.

Professor Philip Linsley, co-author of the study, explains how they used extensive surveys of visitors and volunteers to see what positive changes people had made and found the financial equivalent i.e. an hour’s gym class or a social club / befriending activity. They calculated a seven fold return on every pound invested by DEFRA which grants the park £4.2m annually. The Chairman of the North York Moors National Park Authority Jim Bailey tells Sarah Falkingham that the study helps evaluate if its funded activities are meeting the park’s objectives with room to do more about improving people’s health and wellbeing in the future. Today’s programme also joins a group mending a trail, at Goathland near Whitby, who explain how working together not only has helped their fitness but has helped some overcome cancer treatment and dispel loneliness and depression.

Producer: Sarah Falkingham

14 minutes

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