Escaping the City with Chris Packham

May 18, 2016

Chris Packham is back and helping us to encourage the public to get out of the city and into the countryside.


In our latest campaign we’ve been looking at the effect of our urbanised lifestyles on our health, wellbeing and our ability to identify and connect with nature. With the help of wildlife expert Chris Packham and Psychotherapist Hilda Burke, we’re on a mission to encourage city dwellers out of their four walls and into the beautiful countryside…

The UK’s population are spending more and more time indoors: adults are likely to go entire days without stopping to smell a flower, pluck a leaf, caress a blade of grass, or even see a shred of foliage

A hundred years ago, only two out of 10 people lived in urban areas. Today, more than half of us have chosen a life in the city and by 2050, it’s estimated that the number will be seven out of 10*.

A lack of nature is incredibly unhealthy: being in and around leaves and trees, sand and bugs and dirt is the natural state of the animal known as man. It’s home. It’s in our blood and in our genes.

Hilda Burke, integrative psychotherapist and life coach:

hilda-1bToday we spend more and more time indoors, rather than getting outside and enjoying the open space and fresh air in the countryside, which is having a detrimental impact on our wellbeing. I’m working with Camping in the Forest to raise awareness for the benefits of a more balanced lifestyle to counteract the negative effects of increasing urbanisation.

Being out in nature gets us back in touch with the seasons and reminds us that there is a time for growth and a time to rest, which can help us become more accepting of  the ebb and flow in our own lives. Getting outdoors and experiencing new surroundings also refreshes our minds, as the repetition and constant exposure to the familiar in the city can cause our brains to get lazy. Physically we also benefit by being in nature - our eyes get a work out when we focus on things far away whereas in cities our field of vision tends to be blocked by densely packed buildings.

Being more aware of nature and reconnecting with it not only helps us feel calmer and more balanced, but it leads us to become more conscious of man’s impact on the environment and to assume more responsibility for it. My advice is that we all make time to enjoy and embrace the beautiful British countryside and its wildlife

Being in nature has many benefits to us as humans. Did you know that it is good for the brain? Repition and constant exposure to the familiar causes our brains to get lazy. By taking ourselves out into a new unfamiliar landscape, we discover new things. It refreshes us!

And our lack of outdoor enjoyment in the countryside, is leaving us a nation of nature ignorant, beWILDered Brits.

From a survey of 2000 people we found that a large number of respondents simply couldn’t identify the most common of species including an Oak tree, Kingfisher and Buzzard.

Wildlife expert and TV presenter, Chris Packham, gives Camping in the Forest the lowdown on his top species of wildlife to find in the New Forest and how to spot them…

 “The New Forest is a haven for wildlife. A unique ecosystem in an increasingly urbanised South East England, The New Forest covers everything from heathlands, marshes and ancient woodlands, allowing a plethora of habitats which are elsewhere scarce in the UK, to flourish. Here’s a few of my favourite species to look out for and enjoy.”

Download Chris' guide to spotting wildlife in the forest.

And so we’ll be working with Chris and Hilda over the coming weeks to share our findings and try and spread the word that a dose of the outdoors is the best medicine. Keep up to date through our social channels including Facebook and Twitter.

*The Guardian

Connect With UsYouTube Facebook Twitter Instagram