Not all green space was created equal Any old green space won’t cut it It’s pretty well known that spending time around trees and nature makes you healthier, physically and mentally – you normally just feel it the second you step outside after a day in the office, or a long time in a city. But it’s interesting to see that studies have found not just any green space will do. Simone Kuhn’s study from Scientific Reports found that ‘those living close to a forest were more likely to show signs of a healthy amygdala, although the same was not true for those who lived near urban green spaces. Study participants were given memory and reasoning tests, and underwent MRI brain imaging’ Another study from Environment and Behaviour found that ‘spending time in rural or coastal settings was more psychologically uplifting than visiting urban green spaces, such as city gardens and parks…subjects experienced greater feelings of relaxation and refreshment, as well as stronger emotional connections to the natural world.’ Obviously not everyone is lucky enough to live in or regularly visit the countryside – urban parks and green spaces in any capacity should definitely be protected and cherished – but we want to make sure no one takes the beautiful, Bedfordshire countryside for granted. Make the most of your green spaces We have 11 sites across the 61 square mile area of the Forest of Marston Vale – many you may have visited without knowing they were even ours. We highly recommend taking some time out, and losing yourself at any one of them – whether it’s for half an hour, or an entire afternoon. One of the main reasons the Forest was created in the first place was to give people amazing green places where they can walk, relax, and re-connect with nature. Yes, our trees aren’t that tall yet, but you can’t beat some of the views or the feeling of being totally away from it all when you’re standing at the heart of one of our woodlands. If you visit us, then you’re one of the lucky ones who isn’t stuck with just inner city parks – get out there this evening, or this weekend, or even just this summer. Make the most of it – your body and mind will thank you. Looking after our woodlands isn’t cheap – we have to manage the trees themselves, pick up litter, keep hedges trimmed, maintain pathways, repair benches and fences and much, much more. We only have a small team, and mainly rely on volunteers – if you are interested in helping us to look after any of our sites or would like to become a Wood Warden, then send us an email or call 01234 762608.