Did you know spending time around trees is one of the best things you can do for your well-being? The United Nations wanted to celebrate this and set 21st March in stone as International Day of Forests. Recognising all types of forest and woodland, this year the focus is on ‘Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being. According to the National Forest Inventory, 8% of the Swale area is woodland. Why not spend more time in Swale’s woodland this spring to help boost your mood?
Not only do trees produce the oxygen we breathe but also host a wealth of other health benefits. The most well-researched benefit of nature exposure is the reduction of stress and anxiety. Other studies show lower levels of cardiovascular disease and improved immunity as a result of spending increased time around trees.
As we also know, trees store carbon dioxide and remove it from the atmosphere. They also provide a home for nature, mitigate air pollution and reduce flood risk.
Swale Borough Council is therefore on a mission to restore forests and improve the natural environment for local residents. Ecology, biodiversity and green space are vital to both mitigating climate change and to helping us to adapt to it’s inevitable effects. Our Climate and Ecological Emergency Action Plan (2020) recognises that protecting and enhancing these assets is vital. We are therefore committed to planting 148,100 trees on Council land by 2025.
We recently planted 600 trees in Milton Creek Country Park. The mixture of hawthorn, blackthorn, oak, hazel, willow and silver birch trees will flower at different times of the year, providing important food for a variety of insects and mammals, especially bees. As Sittingbourne’s newest green space, it is a tranquil oasis for wildlife. The 128 acres of former landfill site now offers a large natural play area, a community events space, as well as an extensive network of paths through areas of different meadow, scrub and aquatic habitats that are home to many hundreds of animal species.
Cromer’s Wood has beautiful ancient ash pollards which contain rare fungi, and there is a wonderful display of flowers in spring. The woodland and has several trails and informal pathways. There is a hide by the pond for visitors wanting to observe birds and wildlife. The woodland is tucked away up an unmade lane off Broadoak Rd. The main car park is closed, but there is parking at the entrance to the wood for 4 vehicles.
Just outside of Faversham, Perry Wood is beautiful woodland managed by Swale Borough Council. Cyclists, horse riders and walkers will all enjoy a day out in the woods. Parking is available and the woods can be explored by following the various routes around the woodland. There is a short easy access route with handrails, and more adventurous routes up and down the steep slopes of the woodland.
This is just a handful of the great forests you can enjoy in Swale, find out more and experience the great outdoors in Swale.
Article by Grace Couch - Swale Borough Council's Climate and Ecological Emergency Project Officer