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Nature engagement and wellbeing pre-, during and post Covid-19: supporting the UK (green) recovery

Engagement with nature benefits wellbeing (Twohigg-Bennet, 2019), but theory development in this area is limited. With free movement restricted during lockdown and health and wellbeing threatened by Covid-19, it is especially important now to understand this relationship. We will work with Natural England (NE) to examine the impact of Covid-19 on nature engagement and wellbeing in the UK and support government strategies aimed at ameliorating impacts and managing recovery. Four studies are proposed analysing data on nature-engagement and wellbeing in: (1) a longitudinal survey study post lockdown (July 2020-21), (2) an analysis of social media comments posted during lockdown, (3) an ethnographic study of experiences during and post lockdown, and (4) analyses of nationally representative NE data pre, during and post lockdown.

Aim 1). To study how wellbeing and use of natural spaces (e.g., gardens, parks, countryside) during and post lockdown have changed across the UK. Access to green space is linked to wellbeing (Alcock et al., 2014), but little is know about the impact of disruptions to access.

Aim 2). To develop a novel systematic mapping of multiple wellbeing outcomes (hedonic (e.g., mood), as well as eudaimonic (e.g., purpose and meaning; Ryan & Deci, 2008)) and access and use of different types of natural spaces (gardens, parks, the countryside).

Aim 3). To further theory development. Experiencing a sense of "being away" (from everyday stressors and demands) can help explain the nature-wellbeing link (Von Lindern, 2017). Lockdown provides a unique insight into the meaning of mentally and physically "being away".

Lead investigator:

Biritta Gatersleben


University of Surrey

Primary topic:

Health, physical & mental

Region of data collection:


Country of data collection


Status of data collection

In Progress

Type of data being collected:

From private company

Unit of real-time data collection


Start date


End date



Periodic (other)