Our physical environment can have a significant impact on our health. It influences what we do, the way we move, and how we engage with people and places. By creating healthy places: making it easier for people to walk and cycle, by better design and by using the built and natural environments, we can help people to move more and improve their health and wellbeing.
Our work related to active travel is closely linked to Explore Kent, our sister service. With its focus on encouraging active, outdoor lifestyles and the use of the county’s network of public rights of way, plus green and blue spaces, Explore Kent is an ideal vehicle for promoting active travel and connecting with nature, working together to address the climate emergency.
We want to encourage walking and cycling as an alternative way to travel short distances – like walking to the shops, walking the kids to school, cycling to work, or cycling to the station to catch a train. Active travel encourages people to move more as part of their everyday lives but also helps improve air quality and supports work to reduce carbon production.
In partnership with Explore Kent, we work with partners in transport and the community to promote active travel with the use of free active travel guides, journey planners and resources:
Kent Cycle Training courses are available to give people the skills and confidence to cycle more often for leisure and work.
Hear how Madhu and Ruth got on at their first adult cycle training session, how they enjoyed the experience and gained a huge confidence boost.
Connecting with Nature
The pandemic highlighted the need for green and blue spaces to improve physical and mental wellbeing. When it comes to the physical and mental health benefits, nature has a very wide definition. It can mean green spaces such as parks, woodland, or forests as well as blue spaces like rivers, wetlands, beaches or canals. It also includes trees on an urban street, private gardens, verges and even indoor plants or window boxes.
The evidence is clear that being active in nature has significant benefit. People’s connection with nature is also associated with lower levels of poor mental health, including depression and anxiety.
Working with a wide range of partners including Public Rights of Way, Country Parks, Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Countryside Management Partnerships, Kent Wildlife Trust, alongside Explore Kent and via our Everyday Active campaign, we are working to help more people to be active outdoors and connect with nature to improve their health and wellbeing.
Here’s an example of our green social prescribing work with Kent Wildlife Trust: