Richerman, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
A volunteer ranger is urging people to get out of the house and explore the greenspaces of Salford.
David Marsden, 51, has discovered his local area in the lockdowns and believes more people should follow his lead. “I didn’t really appreciate the wildlife in Salford as much as I should have.
I live in a flat, no garden. So, getting out in nature and seeing wildlife really helped with that sense of cabin fever and it just really helped my mood.
“When I moved here, I just had this vision of a grey, concrete area with nothing much to offer. I discovered the Kersal Wetlands and it was a shame I’d never known about it before”.
Like many others, David has been inspired by what Salford has to offer with wildlife. This has pushed him to take on a position as a volunteer Ranger. “I started out doing the gardening at Peel Park. It was fulfilling to know that I was doing something that other people can appreciate”.
“[The Rangers] come out with a diary each week so I’ve got stuff to look forward to. On Thursdays I’ve got my gardening. Tomorrow we’re going out litter picking. I’ve seen some many people who are passionate about the area and that’s really lovely to see”
Exercise releases endorphins and improves physical health, all of which can help with feelings of stress, depression and anxiety. The Salford Trail Walks give people across the city the opportunity to explore their local area with routes exploring rural countryside and public parks. With over 50 miles of walking across the trails that is accessible by public transport, it is made even more available for Salford citizens.
With Salford entering Tier 3 lockdown after the national lockdown ended, many citizens are avoiding the shops and exploring their local areas.
Many people hold a stigma around Salford that is a largely industrial environment so many citizens are still yet to fully appreciate the nature at their fingertips. The popular Ewan MacColl song ‘Dirty Old Town’ describes Salford as a bleak, industrial city.
According to the Salford City Council website, around 60% of Salford is greenspace including the Green Belt, large agricultural areas as well as five nature reserves and over 20 public parks. But in an exclusive poll for SalfordNow, many residents think it is mostly industrial.
Do you think there are more green spaces in Salford, or industrial? Let us know… 🍃🏗
— Salford Now (@SalfordNow) December 7, 2020
Getting out or being near nature has major benefits in treating mental health conditions, referred to as ecotherapy. Regular outings in greenspaces especially helps mental health disorders such as anxiety, PTSD and depression. The mental health charity, Mind, published a report that stated 71% of people suffering from depression felt a decrease in their symptoms after being
Salford resident Heather Jones, 50, believes her ‘green therapy’ during lockdowns has been the key to battling her depression. “I was signed off work with severe depression. I was taking anti-depressants and in counselling. Both helped but not enough to return to work.
“Within a week of going out walking or just out in nature, my mental health began improving much more rapidly. I discovered the Salford Trail Walks which are wonderful and I’ve been able to discover parts of Salford I had never encountered.
“I make sure I have some green therapy every week to keep me mentally well”.
If you would like to join Salford Volunteer Rangers, you can sign up here: https://www.salford.gov.uk/parks-and-open-spaces/volunteering/
If you would like to know more about the greenspaces in your area, you can visit: https://www.salford.gov.uk/parks-and-open-spaces/