Owned by national land management charity the Land Trust, and maintained by The Conservation Volunteers, the Countess of Chester Country Park covers 19 hectares of green, open space, wetlands and forest.
Located next to the Countess of Chester Health Park, close to residential areas and a two-mile walk from the city centre, the Countess of Chester Country Park is ideally placed to bring the health benefits of the outdoors to a wide range of people.
In February 2016, Alistair Cook was appointed 'Health for Life' project officer to promote healthier and more active lifestyles for people of all ages and abilities, a position supported by several funding partners.
The initiatives and activities that Alistair, TCV and Land Trust colleagues and external partners have hosted include:
•A weekly programme of TCV-led Green Gym, Buggy Walks, Nordic Walking, Health Walks and Walk to Run sessions.
•Chester park-run launched in summer 2016, attracting an average of 230 participants every Saturday morning.
•A programme of activities specifically for local health staff, tailored to their needs and timetables.
•Forest School sessions giving schoolchildren the opportunity to enjoy hands-on learning.
•Tree planting and other park maintenance sessions, giving people the chance to help care for their park and get some alternative exercise.
•A Green Angels training scheme helping local people gain skills and benefit from social cohesion and outdoor activity.
Countless numbers of people walk, cycle and run around the park each week. Furthermore, the park is actively used as part of treatment and recovery plans by health care staff from across the hospital's departments.
Through our links with various experts throughout the health park we help encourage new mums, people undergoing physiotherapy, and patients at the young person's mental health unit to use the park to aid their wellbeing.
This health partnership model continues to grow and is one we are looking to replicate across other sites. We already know how important green spaces are to people's health and wellbeing (Land Trust research below) and the Countess of Chester Country Park is a prime example.
•Nearly half of visitors use our green spaces to walk the dog
•Over 50% use our green spaces for exercise, leisure and recreation
•9 out of 10 people feel that our green spaces play a positive part in their happiness and wellbeing
•25% use our green spaces to relieve stress