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Article updated 23 March 2020.
The National Trust has reversed its decision to keep as many of its parks and gardens open and free of charge.
Despite announcing last week that it planned to make entry to National Trust parks and gardens free, the organisation yesterday revealed in a tweet its now closed the majority of outdoor spaces to “restrict the spread of coronavirus.”
We’ve closed our parks and gardens to restrict the spread of coronavirus, as well as, built properties. Many of our car parks for countryside and coastal locations are now likely to be closed. We urgently request people to stay local, observe social distancing and to not travel. pic.twitter.com/FIuP9l744a
— National Trust (@nationaltrust) March 22, 2020
The National Trust’s pay-for-entry indoor sites, including houses, cafés and shops, closed by 20 March (Friday) following latest government guidance issued by the Prime Minister last week.
“Following the Prime Minister's advice on Monday 16th March, the National Trust's Director-General Hilary McGrady said that our pay-for-entry sites including houses, cafés and shops, will close by this Friday 20th March,” a statement on their website explained.
“While we will close our indoor areas to help fight the spread of coronavirus, we recognise that people are likely to need access to open space.
“We'll work, where possible, to keep as many of our gardens and parklands open, free of charge, alongside coast and countryside, to encourage the nation to enjoy open space, while observing social distancing measures.”
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We're aiming to open many of our gardens and parks for free during this difficult time, so the nation can use open spaces to relax and refresh, while following the government’s social distancing guidance. We will be closing our houses, cafés and shops this week. pic.twitter.com/ETY1oEo8VZ
— National Trust (@nationaltrust) March 17, 2020
It is understandable that the coronavirus outbreak is causing mental health to take a bit of a hit, leaving many of us feeling anxious or low, but getting out into the great outdoors could provide a welcome lift.
Earlier this year a report revealed that taking part in nature-based activities can help those suffering from mental ill-health and contribute to a reduction in levels of anxiety, stress, and depression, which sounds like just the ticket right now.
The report, commissioned by Natural England from the University of Essex and Mind, the UK’s leading mental health charity, highlighted evidence that getting out into nature can bring a range of positive benefits including a reduction in depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms.
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So in these uncertain coronavirus-edged times when many of us are feeling anxious and overwhelmed, if you were planning on heading to your local National Trust for some soothing fresh air, you will still be able to do so.