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We're measuring our biodiversity as part of a nationwide wellbeing study

Scientists are studying the sounds of nature in our estate as part of a nationwide study into the potential benefits of green spaces for health and wellbeing.

Small listening devices, known as AudioMoths, are being placed around our estate, to record its natural soundscape – the noises made by nearby plants and animals.

The devices will record over a two-week period and the data will be used to determine how the audible presence of nature may have an influence on health and wellbeing.

“We’re delighted to have the opportunity to participate in this study and it will be fascinating to hear the results,” said David Green, our Head of Innovation.

“A key part of Blenheim’s Land Strategy is something we are calling the ‘Natural Health Service’, which is how we can share the estate with a wider audience to promote the benefits both of exercise and interacting with the countryside for mental and physical wellbeing.

“Hopefully the findings from this research will provide additional evidence of how important nature and access to green spaces is for all of us,” he added.

The research is part of GreenspaceHack, a joint study being undertaken by the University of Oxford, Oxfordshire County Council and Newcastle University, which is funded by the Research England PitchIn project. GreenspaceHack aims to facilitate better design of green spaces to promote health by providing robust evidence on which characteristics of green space citizens value most and which contribute to promoting healthier urban environments at individual and local levels.

“Emerging evidence suggests that green space, whether used for recreation or physical activity, can improve mental health and wellbeing,” said Anant Jani, an Oxford Martin Fellow at the University of Oxford.

“Individuals who use green spaces, or engage in green exercise, have less mental distress, less anxiety and depression and healthier cortisol levels,” he added.

The team will be collecting soundscape information from a variety of green spaces across England. Mental health conditions are one of the most significant contributors of overall global disease burden and cost society an estimated £1.6 trillion per year.

Learn more about our Natural Health Service.