I'm a second year student at Sheffield Hallam, and something I absolutely love about Sheffield is how green the city is. As today is World Environment day, I've written about how much I appreciate Sheffield's gorgeous green spaces, and I want to share it with you all!
On World Environment Day, we're encouraged to appreciate and celebrate the nature around us and explore our natural world. This year, the theme is 'Connecting People with Nature', in the hopes of inspiring us to enjoy our favourite aspects of nature, from gardens, allotments and fields, to national parks, woodlands and wildlife conservations.
Reconnecting with and looking after our natural world is not only good for the environment, but it can be incredible for our wellbeing. It can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety to make us feel calmer, distracting us from the pressure and frustration of our modern day lives. Nature helps us to feel united with the wider world and see part of the bigger picture when we're so often stressed about our individual struggles, like exams, money, and social media. It reminds us that (despite what we see on the news), there are positives to the world.
This is why I absolutely love living in Sheffield. One of the greenest cities in the UK, with over 200 woodlands, parks and gardens, there is always somewhere to go when I find myself feeling distant from the natural world, and lots of them are right in the middle of the city.
The Winter Gardens, Peace Gardens, and Devonshire Green are all intertwined with the urban city, making it easy to get a boost of positivity while I'm on a walk home from university or looking to buy something in town. As someone who feels the benefits of seeing green spaces, plants and trees, I really appreciate seeing these from day to day.
The Winter Gardens (above)
The Peace Gardens (above)
Devonshire Green (above and below)
But it doesn't stop there! For a 15-20 minute walk (and much, much less from many second year houses), I can get to the beautiful Botanical Gardens and to Endcliffe Park.
Ecclesall Road & Endcliffe
The Botanical Gardens are especially perfect when I want to focus on something other than my day to day life, or the stresses of assignments and work, as there are lots of different plants including more exotic plants, and different areas to walk around in the gardens. There are also lots of very friendly squirrels running around! It's an amazing place to connect with nature and to focus on the beauty of the world and of life. I know it sounds cheesy - but it really can be amazing for my mental wellbeing as well as physical wellbeing.
Walking through the bigger parks, as well as playing ball games, cycling and going for a run are ways in which you can combine physical health with mental health AND connect with nature while you do so. How good is that?!
All these amazing natural, green spaces…
Peak District National Park
...And I haven't even mentioned the Peak District yet! Peak District National Park is a huge area of hills and valleys, moors and woodland, small and picturesque villages (Matlock, Bakewell, Castleton), and so much more to explore. With some of Sheffield Hallam's societies, you can hike or climb there, and you can also hire bikes for certain trails, go to a campsite for a night or two or just go walking to explore for yourself!
When I've had days free in the past, I've taken the train to Edale to get to the start of the Pennine way for a walk with incredible views and lots of sheep; I've hopped on the bus to Foxhouse to walk through some trails and see an incredible sunset; I've seen Nine Ladies Stone Circle near Bakewell; and I've explored some of the other surrounding villages which have such a calm, friendly feel to them.
The Peak District (all three above)
The feeling of having a break from the city and from urban life is so balancing and so healthy. It has allowed me to understand the importance of the natural world in my life, to gain perspective on some of my struggles from a distance with a level head, and connected with friends in a raw, unfiltered way, away from social media and the stress of negative news and politics, assignments, and everything else that can get in the way of having a clear mind. It’s yet another reason why coming to live in Sheffield can be rewarding, exciting and beautiful experience.
So this World Environment Day, which natural places do you appreciate? How can you reconnect with nature? Reply with your favourite things about where you live, or your experience of the green city of Sheffield, or how you plan to reconnect with nature today!
Find out more about World Environment Day here: http://worldenvironmentday.global/
Find out more about Sheffield here: http://www.welcometosheffield.co.uk/
Find out more about the Peak District National Park here: http://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/
And feel free to ask me if you have any more questions!