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People in the UK have some of the lowest rates of connection to nature in Europe.

Visits to natural spaces in the UK are also lower than 18 other countries, Prof Miles Richardson of the University of Derby told a webinar hosted by the National Association of Social Prescribers.

Factors behind this include higher income, greater use of technology and less biodiversity.

Wildlife rarely watched

Nature connectedness is an internationally recognised psychological construct that describes the strength of a person’s emotional relationship and attachment to nature.

Prof Richardson cited research showing that 80 per cent of people rarely or never watch wildlife, smell wildflowers or photograph nature and 62 per cent rarely or never notice bird song or butterflies.

However, lockdown resulted in an increase of people noticing nature, resulting in higher wellbeing.

The low rates of connectedness and nature visits in the UK has implications for policy and social prescribing, with Prof Richardson advocating for improvements to access and active engagement.

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