Appreciating the value of green space


The pandemic has been a catalyst for many people to re-evaluate their lifestyles and think more carefully about what they want out of the place they live.

For so many of us, access to outdoor space became more valuable than ever during lockdown. Nature was a source of solace, as we explored and appreciated our local parks, fields and footpaths like never before. According to Natural England, more than 40% of people in the UK said that local green spaces had become even more important to their wellbeing since coronavirus restrictions began.

There is no doubt about the many benefits of spending time outdoors and the vital link between access to natural space and our wellbeing is becoming better understood. Numerous pieces of research show the positive effects of spending time in green space, with results including reduced stress and anxiety, improved sleep and increased happiness. There is a school of thought that humans have an innate tendency to connect with nature because of the environment our ancestors evolved in, which is why being in nature feels good to us.

The places we live have a huge impact on our health and happiness and that is why at Countryside, our central aim is to build places people love, where the green spaces and landscape are just as important as the buildings and architecture. Many of the developments in our Essex collection are set in peaceful countryside surroundings, designed to blend harmoniously with their setting and providing residents with easy access to the great outdoors.

St Lukes park model shoot picnic

One of the health benefits of being close to green space is it inspires us to get active - whether you want to walk the dog, cycle, run, play golf, or even escape to the coast, it helps if it is all possible on the doorstep. At Mulberry Green, residents will enjoy tranquil living just a short walk from the charming village of Hatfield Peverel, but surely its biggest draw is the unrivalled access to the natural world. The green spaces and landscaping created as part of the development lead seamlessly to the fields and farmland beyond, so you can immerse yourself in nature when you step outside your home.

Another benefit of having good access to green spaces is that it can encourage a sense of community and bring residents together, which can be a big positive for mental health. At St Luke’s Park in Runwell the welcoming, semi-rural setting includes a new village green that provides a focal point where neighbours can gather. Set within existing woodland, the landscape-led approach to the development has included the planting of 8,000 new trees and shrubs. As a result, the homes have a pleasant green outlook, many also with picturesque views of the countryside, which brings a sense of calm. Mature trees are also a feature of Meadow Rise in Braintree, where new parkland has been created for everyone to enjoy. Standing tall around the community, the ancient trees provide a leafy outlook to the homes and each property also has its own spacious garden. Finding a new home with a good-sized garden can be a big attraction and research shows that private green space provides just as many health benefits as public space, with the link between gardening and health well documented

A shining example of our track record in landscape-led development is close by at Great Notley Garden Village, set in over 400 acres and including a country park, leaving a lasting legacy for everyone to enjoy. We recognise that quality of life is such a big driver in people’s decision when they are choosing a new home, so factoring in generous green spaces will always be high on our priority list. While London is only a short hop away from our well-connected Essex developments, the semi-rural village settings surrounded by countryside offer somewhere to live life at a more peaceful pace.