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Enjoy Norfolk’s nature - study shows it will make you a happier person

Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes.  Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

It’s official - enjoying the nature of Norfolk will make you happy.

As people are urged to take part in a month-long celebration of the wildlife which the county has to offer, research by scientists has revealed that noticing natural beauty makes people happier.

As Norfolk Wildlife Trust urges people to take part in the annual 30 Days Wild nature challenge - with a special event planned for Cley Marshes - an evaluation of last year’s event has shown the natural world is a key ingredient in wellbeing.

The University of Derby has been monitoring people taking part in the national challenge since it started in 2015 and found people who took part were made happy by engaging with natural beauty.

Dr Miles Richardson, director of psychology at the University of Derby, said: “Tuning-in to the everyday beauty of nature becomes part of a journey which connects us more deeply to the natural world.

“As people’s appreciation of natural beauty and the wild world around us increases, so does their happiness.

“We respond to nature - it restores us and balances our emotions.

“This, in turn, encourages people to do more to help wildlife and take action for nature.”

The 30 Days Wild challenge will run from June 1 to 10.

It encourages people to notice nature on their doorsteps every day and gives them a multitude of ways of doing it: the Random Acts of Wildness.

David North, head of people and wildlife at Norfolk Wildlife Trust, said: “Last year in June I walked barefoot on my lawn, got up early to listen to birdsong, visited a nature reserve, went for a wild swim, lay on my back and watched clouds slowly pass overhead, sat on shingle shore listening to waves at sunset, and walked through a wood under a canopy of green leaves listening to the wind in the tree tops.

“These were just a few of the Random Acts of Wildness I tried and though it was nearly a year ago the experiences are still fresh in my mind.”

The first ever Big Wild Weekend will take place on June 16/17, with Norfolk Wildlife Trust inviting families to experience Cley Marshes and its nocturnal wildlife, at night.

The event is suitable for ages eight upwards and places must be booked on 01263 740008.

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