I recently read an article titled ‘Nature isn’t something that you “Go To”‘, where the author argued that phrases such as ‘getting back to nature’ and ‘exploring nature’ underline how disconnected we have become as a society from our surroundings. Suddenly nature is something we have to go and look for, rather than something we see ourselves as being a part of. Of course, when stuck in a building all day, yearning to be outside is entirely understandable, you only need to visit a primary school at playtime to see the joy that the outside brings. Like many animals, humans have evolved to be both constantly using their bodies, and interacting with their environment, and parallels could be drawn with pets kept in cages – they may have everything they need, but it’s still not the same experience as foraging for your own food, knowing the pull of a current or even feeling the anticipation of the unknown.
Getting outside isn’t just about visiting our wild spaces. Feeling the sun on our face, stepping in puddles on the road and opening our eyes to the history and heritage that surrounds us, all adds to our sense of identity, and therefore our well-being – after all, the ground, stars and the air we breathe, as well as our collective story will still be here, long after we are gone.
If you have ever released an animal from a cage you may have noticed that they are often reluctant to leave. Perhaps they feel a lack of confidence, instinctively recognising that they may not have the skills to thrive in a wider environment, but, by having the opportunity to move in and out of those habitats, their confidence grows and their abilities develop, just in the same way as the more time we spend outdoors the more comfortable we become with it.
I believe spending time outside is fundamental to our health and well-being, whatever your interests and location. There is so much to see and experience as soon as you step out of that door – our cities are filled with wonderful history, culture and fabulous people, while our rural areas contain much of our industrial and agricultural heritage as well as our precious wild spaces. Wherever you live, it is simply a matter of stepping out of that building and starting your adventure – you will be amazed by what lies there waiting for you.
We are delighted to have been chosen as one of Ordnance Survey’s #GetOutside Champions for 2017, and our role is simple – whether it’s picking dandelions on the way home from school, making a den in the woods, or taking the kids to check out that church you can see on top of the hill, we want to get you outside!