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This publication reports on a survey exploring people’s connection with trees, woodlands and wider nature before and during the Covid-19 pandemic and the benefits they gained from these interactions.  The online survey ran from mid-June until the end of July 2020.

2,115 responses were received with nearly three quarters being from women. About 60% of respondents were from urban areas and the majority were white. Many in the sample are already connected to nature via interest in the nation’s forests and connection to Forestry England; often via social media.

The survey illustrates the important role that trees, woodlands and wider nature can play as part of people’s everyday lives and in supporting and protecting their wellbeing under the very difficult circumstances of a global pandemic.  However, it also points to differences amongst groups in their ability to access and benefit from nature during this time.

The study was carried out as part of the Active Forests Programme which is funded by Forestry England and Sport England with support from the National Lottery.


O’Brien, L and Forster, J. 2020. Engagement with nature before and during the Covid-19 restrictions. Quantitative analysis. 2020. Forest Research, Farnham.

Engagement with Nature and Covid-19 Restrictions

PDF, 2.36 MB

Report detailing the findings of a survey about engagement with nature before and during Covid-19 restrictions

Publication type
Research reports
Principal Social Scientist
Forestry Staff Liz OBrien RzWQYOa.2e16d0ba.fill 600x600 2