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Increasing green spaces important for wellbeing, survey finds

A proposed Nature Recovery Plan for Ringwood would boost wellbeing as well as wildlife, according to a survey by Ringwood Neighbourhood Plan (RNP). While respondents said they found it easy to connect with wildlife, for many this means leaving the town and driving to areas of the New Forest.

Suggestions from those taking part include creating wildflower meadows, the provision of a wildlife corridor and increased habitats around the whole town, including improvements such as bird boxes, and the planting of native trees and hedges to improve biodiversity and provide a sound barrier from roads.

Members of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group are sharing these findings with Ringwood Town Council, as well as using them to inform the Plan itself. Gareth DeBoos, lead of the Environment Working Group explained “This provides a strong foundation for us to start working out how to deliver wildlife corridors and improved green spaces in the Parish. Working with the Local Planning Authorities we hope to secure an increase in wildlife. We want to connect the New Forest and the Avon Valley conservation areas”. 

Over 80% of respondents said that nature was very important to their wellbeing. They cited a range of memorable wildlife moments, many of which focused on seeing birds such as owls, starling, nightingales and kingfishers. Almost all respondents (97%) enjoyed local walks, and gardening, bike riding, nature reserves, and local parks are key to peoples’ connection with nature. They are supportive of a Nature Recovery Plan that protects or increases the green spaces in Ringwood. 

Development is clearly a concern, “Lots of infill buildings disrupt connected gardens, wildlife find it difficult to forage” said one respondent. 

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