Join the fun at The Eden Project's virtual weekend

Third of UK spend less than 15 minutes a day outdoors

  • Now more than a third of UK are spending less than 15 minutes a day outside
  • 60% say they are getting less than an hour of daily natural light
  • 1/4 of people say their mental health and wellbeing has declined since March
  • Yet nearly 70% say nature helped them cope better in national lockdown in spring

New Eden Project Communities commissioned Nat Rep Onepol survey Time Spent Outdoors, proves that nature lent a helping hand during lockdown in spring, but also shows that people are now spending less time outdoors and mental wellbeing is also on the decline.

Now Eden’s FREE virtual Festival of Discovery on 20-21 November will show people from across the UK how to connect with nature and each other as winter lockdown sets in.

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Chartered Horticulturalist and Broadcaster David Domoney, will appear at the festival in The Great Outdoors arena – one of five zones, to prescribe plant and nature activities specific to a list of health issues. He is a champion of the positive power of plants and nature, strongly believing that you can grow happiness and contentment in your life through the nurturing of plants and engagement with nature.

David said: “I’m delighted to be part of the Festival of Discovery to help people reconnect with the natural world and stay fit and healthy both in mind and body. Horticulture and nature can be an antidote for the stresses and anxiety caused by modern world pressures, so I plan to show people how interacting with nature can help if you’re suffering from stress, anxiety, headaches, depression, loss, loneliness and other mental and physical illnesses. At Eden’s Festival of Discovery, you can learn to enjoy and care for gardens, wildlife and greenspace, beat lockdown, get out and get active.”

As new data shows that more than 50% of people in the UK said gardening helped then cope better with national lockdown in spring than it is now, a host of gardening celebrities and natural world experts will share inspiration to encourage outdoor activities in a mix of lively discussions, fun outdoor demonstrations and enlightening tours set in the dramatic Eden landscapes and Biomes.

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Full-time NHS GP Dr Amir Khan who appears on TV shows GPs Behind Closed Doors, How to Lose a Stone for Summer and on ITV’s Lorraine will share insight on the vital role of nature to support health and wellbeing with fellow panelists Professor Tom Oliver who wrote critically acclaimed book The Self Delusion, which explores how people and the natural world are intimately connected – and why that matters.

Festival-goers will be transported into the world-famous Eden Biomes through virtual tours walking amongst the exotic plants and foraging in the stunning Cornish landscape to inspire them to get out exploring the varied natural places closer to home.

Eden’s very own specialist horticulturalist Fern Carroll-Smith will explain everything you needed to know about harvesting, storing and germinating seeds ready for next Spring.

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Scottish artist Mo Odling will take inspiration from nature and share crafting knowhow when making paper wreaths, decorations and personlised books – perfect Christmas gifts and decorations.

British horticulturist Matt Biggs, a regular on BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners Question time panel, will join botanist Waheed Arshad and members of the Eden team Paul Stone and Catherine Cutler in a Festival of Discovery panel that aims to solve gardening challenges and queries.  

Nature conservation charity the Wildlife Trust will also be sharing ideas to inspire people to connect with the stunning autumnal and winter worlds on our doorsteps and talking about the benefits of nature for our health and wellbeing.

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Eden Project’s Executive Director Peter Stewart said: “Our connections with nature and each other are vital for our health and wellbeing, yet being locked up inside means we’re not feeling the benefits. People need each other and a healthy daily dose of nature, so our new Festival of Discovery aims to inspire people to talk to each other and get back to enjoying time in the great outdoors”.

Covering topics from climate change and food security to inclusive communities and wellbeing, the FREE virtual festival is hoping to bring together families and neighbours during the challenging next few weeks.

The festival is an Eden Project initiative, all made possible by The National Lottery, and follows the first virtual Big Lunch that took place in the summer.

Eden Project’s Co-Founder Sir Tim Smit said: “This second wave is going to be tough for everyone and we know how important it is that people feel connected and stay positive. The Eden Project is a natural convener and while our fantastic site in Cornwall is closed, the Festival of Discovery offers the perfect antidote to lockdown. We can still bring people together to have meaningful conversations online that help us work towards a better future for ourselves, our communities and the planet.”

The FREE Festival of Discovery will take place over the weekend of 20-21 November with all the events taking place via

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Steve Ott
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