Woodland as working space : where is the restorative green idyll?

Bingley, Amanda (2013) Woodland as working space : where is the restorative green idyll? Social Science and Medicine, 91. pp. 135-140. ISSN 1873-5347

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Much has been written on the beneficial, restorative qualities of 'natural' (non-built) rural or urban 'green' space, including woodland, in promoting mental and physical health when accessed for leisure, sport and education. In contrast, with the exception of rural health studies, there is relatively little debate about the health benefits of 'green space' as work place, especially in woodland and forests. In the UK, this apparent gap in the literature may be due to the invisibility of a tiny percentage of the workforce now employed in forestry. However, in recent years there has been a small, though significant, increase in opportunities to train and work in woodlands using traditional, sustainable management such as coppicing, and an exploration of health issues of woodland work is timely. This paper reports on findings from a secondary narrative analysis of oral history interviews selected from two phases of the Woodland Recollections Project and newsletters written by local people historically and currently engaged in coppicing and woodland work in North West England. Perceptions of healthy working in green space are examined by applying key concepts of Attention Restoration Theory (ART). Findings suggest that woodland work environments involve many counter-restorative factors that can render the 'green idyll' detrimental to health and well-being. Successfully drawing on inherent restorative elements requires developing a high level of specialist skills that empower individuals to manage and maintain healthy working practices in these diverse and challenging environments.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Social Science and Medicine
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? ukforest woodland workhealthwell-being attention restoration theorywell-being at workhealth(social science)r medicine (general) ??
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Deposited On:
05 Jul 2013 10:45
Last Modified:
28 Nov 2023 11:16