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Like so many others across the country, I left the office on Monday 16th March for the last time in a long while. For me, I knew it was going to be a really long time before I saw my desk or my colleagues again. At 28 weeks pregnant I was now officially ‘at-risk’, and should stay home for at least 12 weeks.

It’s a scary time to be expecting, but I was relieved when my midwife reassured me that as long as I felt well I should still go outside for walks to maintain my physical and mental wellbeing. As long as I practiced strict social distancing, the risks were minimal. As the weekend approached, I looked forward to getting out to a nearby greenspace for a much-needed dose of nature after a long week of worry and home-working.

Just hearing the birds sing immediately lifted my mood. I envied the raucous black-headed gulls on the pond, they certainly still have a social life! The paths were quiet, at times it felt like I had the whole place to myself. But whenever I did come across other walkers, the problem was immediately obvious.

It’s difficult to observe the 2m rule on narrow paths, with no option to turn a corner or cross the road. Lots of people acknowledged this, making extra effort to walk single-file as close to the edge as possible, but others didn’t, causing a lot of anxiety on my part.

With our lives so restricted, our local greenspaces are more vital than ever before – they’re our source of respite, escapism, and physical fitness. It’s crucial that they remain welcoming and accessible to all who are able to use them. Enjoying these greenspaces while being mindful of those around you will go a long way.


Gill Hatcher