Skip past Navigation
Planting seeds at local community project

Benefits of parks and green space


We have over 1M Hectares of woodland throughout England.1

We have 8200 miles of cycle track throughout England.2

Greenspace can soak up 3.5 times more water than hard areas reducing the risk of flooding.3

1 hectare of trees and shrubs can absorb 1 tonne of CO2 - equivalent to 100 family cars.4

A single tree will produce enough oxygen for 10 people.5

Cabe found that living closer to nature may foster greater appreciation of it.6


A green view can reduce stress in 3 to 5 minutes.7

Stress: simply viewing nature can create significant recovery or restoration from stress in 3-5 minutes.8

Walking produces endorphins which can fight depression.9

Unlike antidepressant drugs that cost £750 million a year, green exercise is free and does not carry the potential for negative side effects.10

Blood pressure decreases in a more natural environment.11

37% of coronary related deaths are due to lack of exercise.12

Daily walk in the park reduces risk of heart attack by 50%.13 

Where people perceive green space is good, more satisfied with where they live and have better health and wellbeing. Where it is valued and feels safe people use green space more and are more physically active.14

Less active lifestyles cost NHS £8.2 billion a year.15

People on exercise programmes in outdoor green environments are more likely to continue than gym or leisure centre.16 

People in high greenery areas are 3.3 times as likely to take frequent physical activity.17 

"91% of people believe that open spaces improve their quality of life".18

If green space better 60% thought would improve health, 48% improve mental health, 46% feel better about relationships with friends and family.19

Hospital patients with green views recover quicker and with fewer drugs.20

Patients recovering from surgery recover faster, need fewer drugs and have fewer complications if they have a room with a green view.21 



Plays a role in cohesion – playing sport together, casual meetings with neighbours and different ethnic groups.22

Loss of well –used and valued facilities such as football pitches and cricket pitches cited as reason spaces used less (especially young people).23

81% respondents used local park in last 6 months.24

Almost 9 out of 10 people use parks and green space and value them.25

Number using space weekly 48% in 2009 (down from 54% in 2007).26

Most deprived 10% wards have frequency of 51 green space visits per year compared to 62 per year in most affluent.27

Less than 1% living in social housing used green spaces on their own estates – main reasons fear, poor quality, no facilities.28

Used least by: over 65s, people with disabilities, black and minority ethnic people and 12-19 year olds.29

46% said they would use local green space more if it had better facilities.30

The higher the quality of green space the more likely it’ll be used.31

If people are satisfied with their parks they tend to be satisfied with their council.32

One size does not fit all and local people know best.33


"Likelihood of children visiting any green space at all has halved in a generation".34

The area around children’s  homes which they know and use has fallen by 90% in 20 years.35 

Two thirds of 9-11 year olds in the UK are dissatisfied with the quality of outdoor play activities where they live. For 15-16 year olds this rose to 81% higher than any other European country.36 

86% of parents (with young children aged 11 and under) say that on a nice day their children would prefer to go to the park than watch TV.37  

These trends are closely linked to a range of challenges facing society today, including those to do with childhood obesity and mental health, anti-social behaviour, and lack of environmental awareness and action.38 

Woodlands can positively affect the motor development of 5 year olds.39 

Greening school grounds has been proven to reduce bullying and increase learning capacity.40 

Children who were bullied, punished, relocated or suffering from family strife all benefited from closeness to nature, both in their levels of stress and in global self worth.41 

Children with ADHD can concentrate on schoolwork and similar tasks better than usual after taking part in activities in green settings, such as walking through or playing in a park.42 

Crime/anti social/safety

31% of parks suffer from unacceptably high levels of vandalism and behaviour related problems.43 

Fear: racism, dogs, dog fouling, domination of the space by one group, poor design (e.g. tall wall / vegetation, lack of lighting, blocking view), poor maintenance, litter, vandalism, graffiti.44

53% of Bangladeshi people felt safe compared to 75% white interviewees.45

Good quality open space can reduce anti-social behaviour.46

Well maintained green neighbourhoods have fewer crimes committed against people and property.47

People are less likely to litter in an area that is clean and tidy and more likely to do so in an area that is already dirty and run down.48 


Tree shelter can reduce heating costs by up to 25%.49

Green space can increase property values by 6% to 35%.50

Living near a well maintained park increases the value of the average home by 6%. Living near derelict or neglected land can decrease the value of the average home by 15%.51 


Land Restoration Trust - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9 , 11, 12, 20, 39, 40, 46, 47, 49, 50

CABE Urban Green Nation - 6, 18, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29, 31, 32

CABE Community Green - 14, 19, 22, 23, 28, 30, 33, 44, 45

(Ulrich, R. S. (1999). Effects of gardens on health outcomes: Theory and research. In C. Cooper-Marcus & M. Barnes (Eds.), Healing Gardens: Therapeutic Benefits and Design Recommendations. New York: John Wiley, pp.27-86.) - 8

(Mind. (2007). Get outdoors, get active: Green exercise should be a mainstream treatment option says Marcus Roberts Openmind Issue 145, May/June 2007) - 10

(Hakim, A. A. et al. (1999). ‘Effects of walking on coronary heart disease in elderly men: the Honolulu Heart Program’ Circulation, Vol. 100, pp9-30) - 13

(Department of Health. (2004). At least five a week: Evidence on the impact of physical activity and its relationship to health) - 15

(British Military Fitness. (2001). Paper to UPF conference; Parks What’s the use?) - 16

(Ellaway, A., MacIntrye, S. and Bonnefoy, X. (2005). Graffiti, greenery, and obesity in adults: secondary analysis of European cross sectional survey. British Medical Journal, 331 (7514). pp. 611-612) - 17

CABE 2004 Public Attitudes to Architecture and public Space: Transforming Neighbourhoods, by MORI unpublished) (**CABE Urban Green Nation**) - 18

(Ulrich, R. S. (1984). View from a window may influence recovery from surgery. Science, 224, pp.420-421.) - 21

Natural England. (2010). Childhood and Nature: A Survey on Changing Relationships with Nature Across Generations - 34

(Natural England. (2010). Wild Adventure Space: its role in teenagers lives) - 35, 38

(Livingstone, S. and Bovill, M. (1999). Young People, New Media: Report of the Research Project: Children, Young People and the Changing Media Environment. London : London School of Economics and Political Science) - 36

(Heritage Lottery Fund. (22 May 2003). Park Life research) - 37

(Bird, W. for RSPB. (2007). Natural Thinking: Investigating the links between the Natural Environment, Biodiversity and Mental Health) - 41

(The Trust for Public Land. (2006). The Health Benefits of Parks) - 42

(CABE Space. (2005). What are we scared of? The value of risk in designing public space) - 43

(ENCAMS. (2001). Segmentation Research: Public Behavioural Study into Littering) - 48

(Hometracker Report Quoted in CABE Wasted Space?) - 51