This February, Tarmac’s Panshanger Park is launching a ‘PanshanGo’ campaign, encouraging people to go outdoors, get active and experience nature, to improve mental health and wellbeing.
Through the campaign, visitors to the park are being challenged to complete one to two activities in the park each week and share the experience and results.
A 2015 study conducted by The University of Essex (in reports provided by The Wildlife Trusts) showed that people who had more contact with nature experienced reduced stress and anxiety, benefitted from more positive self-esteem and mood, and also increased their physical activity, resulting in improvements to overall health.
At Panshanger Park there is plenty to explore, such as the chalk river, River Mimram, large lakes, historical sights and the Panshanger Great Oak tree. The park also offers vast green fields, varied wildlife, extensive woodlands and different trails to try.
Other places to visit at the park are the Dragonfly trail, which complements the park’s dragonfly hotspot recognition by the British Dragonfly Society. Also, the Queen’s Wood where 17,000 trees were planted, as part of the park’s contribution to the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative.
Getting active has been proven to help reduce stress and anxiety, and as little as a brisk 10-minute walk per day can boost energy, mood and mental alertness. Spending time with others can equally boost confidence and provide encouragement. At the park, visitors can enjoy Panshanger Parkrun – a free 5k event taking place every Saturday at 9am.
However, not all activities have to involve exercise, as experiencing nature and noticing the surrounding sights and sounds can support wellbeing. Activities, such as completing a crossword on a park bench, meditation or wildlife and bird watching, can all contribute towards keeping the brain active, and boosting mental health and wellbeing.
Michael Charlton, estates manager at Tarmac’s Panshanger Park, said: “We’re delighted to launch the PanshanGo campaign, as we know how important it is to look after our physical and mental health, and that experiencing nature and the outdoors can play a part in this.
“I often walk around the park to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature, and the park’s historical features. It really helps me break away from my day-to-day tasks, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. I would recommend anyone to take part in the PanshanGo challenge and experience the park for themselves.”
Kath Evans, director of Children’s Nursing at Barts Health, local resident and supporter of the campaign, said: “Having Panshanger Park so close to me is a delight, no matter what the season, it always offers something enticing, snowdrops heralding spring, hosts of golden daffodils, scented bluebells, the Great Oak, the phoenix sculpture, long horned cattle, the chalk river, delicate dragonflies and the hills (or inclines!) are just some of my favourites.
“I’m a regular visitor on a Saturday morning for parkrun, it’s my favourite route, just one loop and a perfect downhill to end my 5k with. The park also allows me to bank some miles for #NHS1000miles, a campaign I started for the NHS’s 70th birthday and six years on it’s still going strong. As a nurse working in the NHS, getting out in nature helps give me the headspace to relax and reflect, whilst the vast numbers of different running routes allow me to increase my heart rate. It’s also great if the Planted Coffee Co van is there, an americano is a great reward after enjoying the park.”
Will you take on the ‘PanshanGo’ challenge? Why not ‘PanshanGo’ for a picnic with l oved ones, take photos of the wildlife, go for a run with a friend, go for a walk on your own, take part in parkrun, do some sightseeing or even a spot of yoga.
Don’t forget to share your photos and videos of you doing the activities, and either tag us on social media, using the hashtag #PanshanGo, or email them to PanshangerPhotos@tarmac.com
For information on the park, visit: https://panshangerpark.tarmac.com/