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Connecting to Nature

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1. Consultation response summary

We had a fantastic response to our survey, with a total of 232 respondents! This formed the key part of the public consultation and was live for a month from January 15th 2021. We’re now analysing the information received for inclusion in the Connecting to Nature report and online interactive map. The responses you have given will guide the areas of land we survey and will help to shape our recommendations for future works to improve areas of green space for both nature and the people living in our community.

In the Newton Abbot area, Decoy Country Park and Bradley Woods came up as your favourite publicly accessible areas of green space. In Kingsteignton area, the River Teign, Stover Canal and Hackney marshes Nature Reserve were all raised as very popular. In Kingskerswell area, the woodland at Kerswell Down Hill was frequently mentioned as being somewhere you enjoy visiting. A diversity of reasons were given for why you liked these areas including the quality of footpaths, cycle ways and ease of access, including the value of a flat, even terrain. Many dog walkers enjoyed these areas for walking their dogs. The beauty of these areas and the value for wildlife were also cited as important.

The top 5 reasons why you value your favourite publicly accessible space were as follows:

  1. It’s a good place to be in nature.
  2. It’s a good place to walk my dog.
  3. It’s a beautiful place.
  4. It’s a good place for nature to flourish.
  5. It’s a good place for exercise.

It’s heartening to see that the number one reason why people enjoy areas of open space is that it is a good place to be in nature.

Ideas for new or improved publicly accessible green space were varied. In Newton Abbot, enhanced links between Decoy Country Park and the surrounding land were often highlighted, along with retaining and enhancing links between Bradley Woodlands, Bakers Park and the surrounding area, including potentially linking both key areas of interest. In Kingsteignton area, Hackney Marshes, the Stover Canal and the area around Sandygate were all mentioned frequently. In Kingskerswell area, the woodland at Kerswell Down Hill, the Aller Brook and the land between the A380 and St Mary’s Church were all noted as areas where improvements would be valued.

There were many reasons why people had suggested the areas for new or improved provision. Common themes were that they are felt to be areas of higher wildlife value which should be protected. The idea of expanding current areas of green space to cope with increased pressure on these areas in the future was also frequently noted. Creating and managing areas with a long term view was often included in people’s responses. Rewilding was also a popular idea. Overall, the need for bigger, better, interconnected and new green spaces has been highlighted strongly in the online survey, with the public wanting tighter protection on existing green spaces from development for the benefit of wildlife and access to these spaces by the local community.

The most popular reasons provided by the public for the improvement and creation of green spaces are set out below, in order of popularity:

  • It’s to provide space to spend time with other people
  • It’s a good place to be in nature
  • It’s a good place to exercise

We were delighted with the number of local groups who were suggested as potentially being interested in carrying out works to improve and create new local green spaces for nature. These ideas will all be taken through in our report.

200+ people were willing to be contacted about their responses to the survey. We are very enthused by this, it’s great to see how many people in the local area are interested in this project and the wider implications. Many people also commented that they would be keen to be involved in projects ‘on the ground’ to benefit our community.

Our next steps are to produce the Connecting to Nature Report and accompanying interactive map. We will post a link to the full report, map and a summary report once these are compiled. We hope the project will be complete by summer 2021.