THE PLEASURE OF URBAN GREEN SPACES

I consider myself to be very fortunate. Although I live in Manchester, a city not known for its access to green spaces, I’m within very easy reach of some of the loveliest rivers and parks I’ve seen in the UK. I didn’t expect this when we moved here a few years ago. It’s been a surprising but very welcome gift – one I’ve taken full advantage of during lockdown.

Normally my work takes me to farms in Africa where I’m in large open spaces, often alone for hours looking at and inspecting plants, with plenty of time to think about and to appreciate nature.

Contrast this with my lockdown experience – at home in Manchester for large chunks of time with my lovely husband and three adult sons. My gratitude for the often quite wild urban green spaces in my area has never been greater.

Of course, lockdown has meant that many other people have also enjoyed and in some cases discovered these places for the first time. I’m delighted for them and hope this leads to a broader appreciation of the need to preserve and expand these important assets. But for me, it has meant that my dog and I head out a little earlier to avoid the ‘rush’ – a lovely start to the day and one that I hope to continue past lockdown, even when my warm bed is more enticing on cold winter mornings.