The National Trust Launches Drive To Get Britain Outdoors
Released on: February 17, 2011, 1:01 pm
Industry: Non Profit
The National Trust has announced a major shift in its focus as
it aims to help more people enjoy to outdoors and get closer to nature
by focusing on walking, cycling and camping.
The charity – often narrowly and wrongly associated only with country houses - will
promote a range of activities that take place on the land it looks after, including
walking, mountain biking, kayaking, surfing and camping, with over a
thousand summer events aimed at helping children get closer to nature.
Fiona Reynolds, director-general of the National Trust, said: "For too long it's
felt that outdoor spaces have been the Trust's best kept secret. We want to play
our part in helping to reconnect the nation with outdoor spaces, whether in the Lake
District or a local park.
"Over 100 years ago one of the Trust's founders, Octavia Hill, argued that quiet,
air and exercise, together with the sight of sky and growing things, were human
needs common to all people.
"A growing body of research backs her intuition*, but over a century later we still
don't seem to value enough the physical and spiritual refreshment we get from our
The main outdoors activity for the National Trust in 2011 will be focused on
walking. Working with local communities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland,
the charity will create 100 miles of new community walking routes as part of a major
outdoor celebration planned for 22-30 October 2011.
It's hoped that thousands of members of the public will be involved in helping
design local routes, clear undergrowth and tread the walking routes for the first
time. The outdoors celebration will also include mass participation events giving
people the chance to explore autumn colours and will launch the Trust's commitment
to create a target 1,000 miles of new trails by 2020.
During 2011 there will also be a series of seven cycling challenge rides at Trust
places from Pembrokeshire to Cambridgeshire. In July the Trust's first ever cycling
festival will take place at more than twenty places throughout the country including
an evening community bike ride at Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire and a kids On Your
Bike weekend at Scotney Castle in Kent.
Jo Burgon, Outdoors Programme Director at the National Trust said: "It’s clear that
people simply love being outdoors surrounded by nature and walking is the easiest
way to do that. We want to work with our local communities to help shape and create
new walking routes on our land for people to explore and get closer to nature."
The Trust currently has more than fifty campsites on its
land - many run by tenant farmers - and plans for this year include creating a
network of new, simple campsites in stunning locations. In Snowdonia the Trust has
just launched green yurt holidays and will promote its thirty bunkhouses as great places to base walking weekends.
Notes to editors
* For example: Essex University found that as little as five minutes of 'green
exercise' can have significant mental health benefits (Barton J and Pretty J. 2010.
'What is the Best Dose of Nature and Green Exercise for Improving Mental Health? A
Multi-Study Analysis', Environmental Science and Technology DOI:
A survey for the National Trust revealed that 80 per cent of the happiest people in
the UK said they have a strong connection with nature, compared with just 37 per
cent of the unhappiest (The TNS survey of 1,294 UK adults was commissioned as part
of the National Trust's inquiry into public access and enjoyment of the outdoors.
The survey took placed on Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 December 2010.)
About the National Trust:
The National Trust is a charity that looks after nearly 25,000 hectares (61,000
acres) of woodland in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, including 22,457 hectares
(55,000 acres) in England alone. Its 250,000 hectares of land include 710 miles of
coastline, countryside and upland areas that are rich in wildlife and open to public
The National Trust offers many attractions for visitors to take part in including
conservation holidays, online walking routes
and cycle paths.
For further information please contact:
Assistant Press Officer
The National Trust
01793 81 7740
Back to previous page
Submit your press release