Millions of people in the UK have never climbed a tree, a new poll claims
Millions of people in the UK have never climbed a tree, a new poll claims

Majority of UK adults have never climbed a tree, poll claims

‘Those living in just cities aren’t making the most of the beautiful nature around them’

Kimberley Slater
Tuesday 24 September 2019 16:25
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Millions of people in the UK have never climbed a tree, played with conkers or seen a sunflower, a new poll claims.

A survey of 2,000 adults found only a quarter can identify the types of plants and trees in their own garden.

An eighth of respondents said they had never come across an oak tree, nearly a quarter reportedly haven’t seen an apple tree, and only three in 10 could tell the difference between a birch and a beech tree.

When it comes to flowers, 19 per cent of Brits couldn’t recall seeing a sunflower, petunias are unrecognisable for 45 per cent and 37 per cent claim not to have seen a marigold.

Many adults said they missed out on certain nature-focused childhood activities, with two thirds not having ever climbed a tree and almost a quarter never playing with conkers.

“The study shows how those living in just cities aren’t making the most of the beautiful nature around them,” said Jez Rose, a behaviour expert, honeybee farmer and author.

“With a worrying number simply assuming there’s no nature around them to notice. Trees and plants not only help us survive but help areas look colourful and inviting besides from being surrounded by grey buildings.”

The poll also suggested one in 10 have never spent time in nature without being connected to technology.

More than a third reported it being longer than a year since they had spent time with nature undistracted, leading many to say they have a “nature blind spot”.

A huge 97 per cent of those polled said they were either overlooking or ignoring nature right in front of them, and almost six in 10 were too focused on technology to look up from their device.

But over a third of those surveyed wished their garden and street had more plants, and that they were more knowledgeable about trees.

Eight in 10 would like to see more nature in their cities, with 86 per cent of Londoners reporting they felt this way.

While technology often dominates our time, 46 per cent have listened to a podcast or read a book about nature.

Charlotte Kerr, senior brand manager for Honest Organic Great Britain, added: “As we continue to live busy lives, often immersed in technology, it seems we’ve forgotten to notice amazing areas of nature around us.”

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