This year there has been a large focus on how nature impacts our mental health, and this has been triggered largely due to the national UK lockdown. Many turned to nature during the lockdown as a safe way to entertain themselves. Here at Asana Lodge, many of our clients suffer with mental health issues and we often prescribe ecotherapy as part of their recovery.

With Mental Health Awareness Weeks focus on nature in mind, we wanted to find out whether or not living in areas with plenty of green spaces and leafy coverage would affect your mental health.

Using data from ONS combined with data from Open Street Maps, we wanted to find out the greenest areas in the UK to live and whether or not living there impacted their mental health. We also used data from BlueSky to find out the leafiest areas and whether or not living in these areas correlates with mental wellness.

UK Top Green Areas

1. Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes boasts a multitude of parks including Campbell Park, Willen Lake and Elfield Nature Park so there is plenty of green space to choose from. Calculating its population and green land mass, Milton Keynes boasted 15.4 metres worth of greenery for every 10 residents, topping the charts in the UK. However, this did not correlate into lower anxiety levels, in fact out of all 419 areas in the UK, ONS had anxiety estimate levels at 3.34 out of 10, which is 65th in total.

2. Warrington

Situated in the leafy suburbs of Cheshire, Warrington was the second greenest area in the UK boasting almost 6.4 meter squared of green space for every 10 residents. Sankey Valley Park makes up the bulk of the green areas in the town along with Woolston Park and Walton Hall and Gardens. ONS had anxiety estimates of 2.84, placing it in the top 25% for low levels of anxiety in the UK.

3. Peterborough

Third in the UK sits Peterborough which is located in the idyllic countryside of Cambridgeshire. Boasting 6.6 meters squared of parks for every 10 residents. With the option of Wandlebury, Hinchingbrooke, Milton and the colossal Nene Country Park, there is plenty of options in Peterborough.  The ONS estimates conclude that this area has anxiety estimates of 2.94 which is also one of the lowest in the country.

4. Northampton

The greenest area in the midlands, Northampton has a total of 5.5 meters squared worth of greenery per 10 residents. The Iron aged hill fort of Hunsbury Hill is a famous monument there, but it also boasts Delapre Park and the conveniently central Beckets Park to choose from too. Northampton is also one of the lowest in terms of its anxiety levels. It scored 2.49 out of 10, placing it in the top 6% for lowest levels of anxiety.

5. Stoke-on-Trent

Staffordshire’s greenest inhabitant, Stoke also had a low anxiety level at just 2.94 and also boasted an average of 5.4 meters squared worth of park land for every 10 residents. Longton Park, Fenton Park and the stunning Parkhall Country Park are all options you can consider when living in Stoke.

6. Coventry

Coventry is the 6th greenest location in the UK and also benefits from being one of the 25% least anxious areas in the UK. Lake View Park, Coundon Wedge and the War Memorial Park on Kenilworth Road are some of the finest green spaces within the city.

7. Leeds

Yorkshires entry, Leeds has some fantastic green areas to benefit your mental health with Roundhay Park. Woodhouse Moor, Springhead Park and more.  Leeds came in just over the national average in terms of anxiety and according to ONS data, life satisfaction, feelings that things done in life are worthwhile and happiness were all below the national average, albeit only slightly.

8. Wolverhampton

Another midlands entry, Wolverhampton made the top 100 least anxious areas in the UK as well as being the 8th greenest area. Smestow Valley Nature Park, West Park and the Pendeford Mill Nature Reserve all offer fantastic days out.

9. Exeter

With 3.9 meters squared of greenery per 10 residents, Exeter is also one of the least anxious areas in the UK, and is in the top 60 areas for low levels of anxiety according to ONS. It benefits from lots of beautiful parks such as Belmont Park and Bury Meadow Park, but being conveniently placed in the idyllic county of Devon also provides lots of greenery outside the area too.

10. Dundee

Scotlands greenest area, Dundee offers almost 3.8 meters squared of green areas for every 10 residents. Clatto Country Park and Camperdown Country Park offer brilliant green spaces for people too. Unfortunately however, this hasn’t quite correlated with low anxiety levels, with Dundee having one of the highest in the UK. Dundee also presented problems with life satisfaction, happiness and feelings that things done in life are worthwhile too.

Other Areas

Our study also found 20 other locations outside of the top 10 which were highly green areas, these included; Dundee, Cardiff, Brighton and Hove, Glasgow, Nottingham, Salford, Edinburgh, Bolton, Sheffield, Ipswich, Gloucester, Bristol, Preston, Sunderland, Aberdeen City, Southampton, Swindon, Manchester, Cambridge, Derby and Oxford

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