Somerset residents are being invited to get out and enjoy their green spaces as Taunton-based Viridor and Somerset Wildlife Trust proudly launch ‘Viridor Wild Walks’ - a set of three walks introduced to mark Mental Health Awareness Week (8-14 May).
The walks, which take in Viridor’s core sites in Taunton (at Priorswood, Blackbrook and Youngman Place), encourage the public and staff from Viridor and neighbouring businesses to get outdoors and connect with the natural environment and their local green space, improving both their physical and mental health.
Walkers will be able to pick up or download an exclusive wild walk card which includes route directions and wildlife spotter guides highlighting some of interesting and unusual species that can be found – even in an urban setting.
The new walks, which range from 25-40 minutes long, will also complement, and in some cases incorporate, a number of town trails already created by the Trust as part of its successful Routes to the River Tone project, also supported by Viridor, which is aimed at enabling people to explore the wonderful green spaces that can be found across Taunton and learn about the wildlife that call them home.
Phil Piddington, Managing Director of Viridor, one of the UK’s largest recycling and renewable energy companies, said: “We share Somerset Wildlife Trust’s commitment to education, conservation and the county’s quality of life.
“Our partnership encourages residents to get out for a walk locally and take advantage of the town’s green spaces, learn more about the wildlife which can be found in Taunton and the best time to spot various species. The walks link our Taunton sites with the town’s wildlife trails and I am pleased that, alongside our own people, we have encouraged staff from neighbouring businesses to join in and put their best foot forwards.”
Jolyon Chesworth, Nature and Wellbeing Manager, Somerset Wildlife Trust, comments: “Worrying declines in our physical and mental health are reported on a regular basis; only 20% of children get
the recommended levels of exercise, and rates of depression amongst teenagers have increased by 70%. Adults don’t fare any better.
“There is now an enormous amount of evidence that getting out into the natural environment is beneficial for our mental health and wellbeing, and can help to combat stress.
“Even a small amount time spent in an outdoor, natural environment can make a big difference. We are enormously delighted to have worked with Viridor to add these three brilliant urban walks to our Wild Walk portfolio, and for Taunton communities to be able to benefit from time outdoors in a really easy, accessible way. Mental Health Awareness Week is the perfect time to make them available.”
Photos: Bumblebee ©Matthew Marshall, Kingfisher ©Malcolm Brown, Water Vole ©Ben Simmonds