Two-hour ‘dose’ of nature significantly boosts health

The Guardian and New Scientist report a two-hour “dose” of nature a week significantly boosts health and well-being, research suggests, even if you simply sit and enjoy the peace.

The physical and mental health benefits of time spent in parks, woods or the beach are well known, but the new research is the first major study into how long is needed to produce the effect. If confirmed by future research, two hours in nature could join five a day of fruit and veg and 150 minutes of exercise a week as official health advice.

Why not come and join us on our next nature walk on Saturday 22 June at Henley Park Meadows, Normandy.

Photo © 2009 Pomeroy under creative commons.

MPs to debate returning huge swathes of Britain to natural habitat in ‘rewilding’ scheme

The Independent reports MPs will have to debate returning vast swathes of land to wildernesses after a petition calling for mass rewilding gained more than 100,000 signatures.

It calls for the government to “make a bold financial and political commitment to nature’s recovery” to help slow climate breakdown.

Expanding habitats for native plants, trees and animals such as beavers and allowing wildlife to return will help remove from the atmosphere the carbon dioxide that is largely driving up global temperatures, organisers Rewilding Britain, said.

Photo by Pat Gaines under Creative Commons .

Common UK plant now close to extinction after ‘farmers thought it was a weed’ and sprayed it with pesticides

The Telegraph report a rare and beautiful wildflower is being reintroduced to the countryside by Kew Gardens and the plant charity Plantlife after it was mistaken for a weed and killed off by farmers and gardeners.

The red hemp-nettle was once common in southern England and South Wales but the use of herbicides, fertilisers and the spread of highly productive crop varieties have led to it almost vanishing from fields.

Prescribe a walk in the woods to treat stress, doctors urged 

The Times reports the Japanese practice of taking contemplative walks in woodland, which has won favour with the Duchess of Cambridge, should be prescribed by the NHS to combat stress, conservationists have said.

Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, was devised 40 years ago as part of a Japanese government initiative to improve the wellbeing of stressed salarymen. It requires walkers to breathe deeply and open their senses to the environment.

An estimated five million Japanese take part, spending time in the dappled sunshine, birdsong and woodland smells to revive body and spirit.

Chimpanzee meat being eaten in UK as border force urged to bring in DNA testing

The Telegraph reports chimpanzee meat is being served as a delicacy at British weddings and sold as ‘bush meat’ on market stalls, it has emerged.

The border force is under pressure to introduce DNA testing to identify the meat at customs and has said it would be investing in new technology to tackle the rising issue.

Leading primate scientist Dr Ben Garrod has said he was told by customs officials just weeks ago that a ton of bush meat from West Africa had been confiscated on a flight bound for the US.

He said it was routinely smuggled into Europe and the UK – which could cause the spread of serious disease as the meat is unsanitary and chimpanzees are very genetically similar to humans.

Photo by Andreas under creative commons .