Outdoor activities in Northern Ireland ‘remain high’ since pandemic | News from Newry
The news comes as the charity’s People in the Outdoors Monitor for Northern Ireland (POMNI) report recently released shows that around 7 in 10 adults living in Northern Ireland now visit the outdoors for leisure at least once. times per week.
This equates to 144 million annual visits per year.
The results are consistent with increased traffic to the OutmoreNI.com website and demonstrate that the unprecedented increase in outdoor activities throughout the pandemic shows no signs of slowing down.
A whopping 47% of respondents to Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland’s 2020 Engaging with The Outdoors during Covid 19 Lockdown in Northern Ireland report said they spent more free time outdoors during lockdown than in 2019.
The POMNI survey, which surveyed members of the public between November 2020 and October 2021, also shows that 72% of respondents said their local green space is within easy walking distance, allowing for frequent outdoor enjoyment.
This percentage increases to 79% for urban areas and decreases to 57% for rural areas.
The outdoor activities cited as being most commonly done by respondents were short walks, walking their dog, spending time playing with children and running.
This is also reflected in OutmoreNI.com user searches for boardwalks, bike paths, parks and beaches.
Survey participants reported a wide range of benefits from outdoor recreation, with 78% reporting a sense of well-being, including feelings of calm, relaxation, refreshment and revitalization.
This is consistent with the findings of the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) Wellbeing in Northern Ireland report 2020/21, which shows that people living in rural areas, surrounded by green space , report significantly higher feelings of happiness and life satisfaction and lower feelings of anxiety than those living in urban areas.
Beverley Magowan, Marketing Manager at Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland, said: “It’s great to see such enthusiasm among people exploring the outdoors and we hope this continues.
“OutmoreNI.com can help people across NI locate the country’s best walks, trails, family activities and water sports.
“However, we want to remind people to explore the outdoors responsibly.
“We encourage anyone exploring the great outdoors of NI to stay on the good side of the outdoors.
“You can do this by planning ahead – checking the weather and bringing the right gear such as clothes, shoes, map, wetsuit, paddles, etc.
“You also need to make sure your dog is on a leash to avoid worrying livestock and disturbing wildlife and making sure you bring your dog’s feces and litter home.
“It is also essential to avoid lighting open fires in the countryside and to limit camping or lighting a barbecue to designated areas.
“Finally, we urge you to show consideration to locals by not blocking access and only parking your car in designated spaces,” she adds.
For a range of outdoor trails and places to explore across Northern Ireland, click here.