Fabulous seasonal challenges from council and Suffolk Wildlife Trust to get people exploring nature

Suffolk County Council and Being Well in the Wild are launching Suffolk's Fab 40 Adventures initativ

Suffolk County Council and Being Well in the Wild are launching Suffolk's Fab 40 Adventures initative.

Suffolk is set to be transformed into 40 shades of green as young and old alike are expected to rise to a challenge launched yesterday that aims to connect them with the county’s wonder-filled natural environment.

Suffolk County Council and Being Well in the Wild are launching Suffolk's Fab 40 Adventures initativ

Suffolk County Council and Being Well in the Wild are launching Suffolk's Fab 40 Adventures initative. Cllr Tony goldson, Judy Powell and Cllr Matthew Hicks

From enjoying an awe-inspiring shooting star on a clear summer’s night to breaking the ice on a winter’s day puddle, and from marvelling at mad March hares on a bright spring morning to thrilling to the antler-crashing drama of the autumn’s red deer rut, a total of 40 seasonal adventures has been drawn up as outdoor challenges to be experienced and revelled in over the coming year.

Suffolk’s Fab 40 Adventures – ten for each of the four seasons – have been drawn up by a partnership of environmental, health and education bodies that include Suffolk County Council’s natural and historic environment team, Public Health Suffolk, the county’s Being Well in the Wild initiative, the Suffolk Environmental Education Network and Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

The project was launched at Ipswich Borough Council’s Holywells Park yesterday and was hailed as an innovative way of connecting people – especially families – with nature and offering them the wide-ranging benefits to mental and physical wellbeing that activities undertaken in green spaces can bring.

County council cabinet member for environment and public protection Matthew Hicks told launch guests the county’s natural environment had been described in Suffolk’s Nature Strategy as a “key strength” of the county. “It is one of the golden threads holding together what makes this county great,” he said.

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He cited a survey conducted by the East Anglian Daily Times last year in which 64% of respondents “put Suffolk’s countryside and nature way out in front in terms of the best things about living in Suffolk”.

The rich diversity of the Suffolk countryside and its green spaces in urban areas such as Ipswich’s Holywells Park offered people the chance to “get in touch with nature.”

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There was a “wealth of evidence to show that those who live close to accessible green spaces are much more likely to meet recommended levels of physical exercise”.

Evidence also showed that accessible green spaces, particularly in towns, could facilitate social contact and give rise to strong neighbourhoods and combat loneliness, particularly in older age groups.

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“The natural environment isn’t just a ‘nice-to-have’. It’s important to all of us. It’s a vital component of our health and wellbeing and the ‘natural capital’ of Suffolk is the foundation of many businesses, particularly in the tourism and farming sectors,” said Mr Hicks.

“No one will look after what they do not care about and no one will care about what they have not experienced,” he said. Suffolk’s Fab 40 Adventures was “all about encouraging children, with their carers, parents or grandparents to get outdoors and be active and to truly experience what Suffolk has to offer.”

County council cabinet member for health, Tony Goldson, said Suffolk people should be proud of their natural environment, where there was “beauty and variety in equal measure”.

“Whatever people’s age or health status, this provides us with a source of great opportunity to make the county healthier from formal volunteering to enjoying our environment for its own sake,” he said. But despite the benefits such an environment could bring, he added: “Almost half of adults in Suffolk are physically inactive and the health cost of physical inactivity in Suffolk is estimated at £14million a year.”

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He added: “Let’s hope the Fab 40 grows to offer more outdoor adventures for the people of Suffolk in the years to come.”

A Suffolk’s Fab 40 Adventures website has gone live and the project is also backed by a wealth of leaflets and postcards.

Season by season, Suffolk’s Fab 40 Adventures offer a wide range of outdoor activities, distilled from suggestions from more than 400 families.

Further information about the project and its challenges can be found at fab40suffolk.co.uk