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Yorkshire Times
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4:00 AM 16th October 2021
nature

Local Street Artist Creates Scenes Along Leeds Canal For Science Of Scenic Beauty Study

The Canal & River Trust charity are launching study which investigates scenic locations in order to create more and improve existing attractive spaces in our towns and cities
The Canal & River Trust network provides around £1billion of savings to the NHS each year
A local artist created a street art mural to highlight the importance of blue and green spaces to encourage the public to get involved with the Science of Scenic Beauty study

On Wednesday 13th October, the Canal & River Trust, the charity which looks after 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales, launched its Science of Scenic Beauty study along the Leeds to Liverpool canal with the help of a local artist.

The Trust created artworks along the towpaths at Granary Wharf, with the help of Leeds-based street artist, Ekaterina Sheath @ekaterina.m.sheath. The artist depicted scenes of canals at the end of a scenic polaroid trail, which commuters followed as they took their morning walk to work. Commuters then rated the scenes for how scenic they thought they were, in order to help with the new study around what makes up scenic spaces.

Ekaterina Sheath commented:
“I’m very excited to be a part of Canal & River Trust’s Science of Scenic Beauty Campaign. My own scenic spot is at Kirkstall Forge. I visited there when I first moved to Leeds. I had a wonderful day chatting to a Canal & River Trust volunteer, learnt how to open the lock and was gifted some fruit cake by someone passing by on their barge. This place has been special to me ever since. Interested by the idea that 'scenic' doesn’t necessarily mean green, the artwork focuses on an old bridge with mismatched stones that curves over the winding canal. I hope my work encourages others to get involved in the campaign.”


Working alongside the University of Warwick, the Canal & River Trust is undertaking the largest UK study to look specifically at the science behind what makes beautiful scenery by water. Scenery, not just greenery, has been shown to be key to helping create better health and wellbeing. A study by the University of Warwick found people feel healthier when they spend time in more scenic areas, and that canals and rivers are the most scenic environments to be in, particularly across towns and cities.

The Canal & River Trust are looking to protect canal spaces and revive the ones that are most vulnerable, and to do this are asking for the public’s help to determine what makes spaces so scenic. Having regular access to blue and green spaces has significant wellbeing benefits for everyone, especially the 8.8 million people who live near a canal or river. Spending time on and by water, whether it be on a lunchbreak, daily commute, or weekend stroll, really can make people happier and healthier.

The Trust’s research shows that the Canal & River Trust network provides around £1billion of savings to the NHS each year through health and wellbeing benefits offered to everyone that visits. So, now more than ever, it is critical to offer scenic sanctuaries for people to visit.

GP and best-selling author, Dr Amir Khan, known for his regular appearances on Good Morning Britain and Lorraine, says:
“The Canal & River Trust's canals provide vital blue and green outdoor space, particularly in some of the nation’s most built-up and deprived communities. Spending time in these precious spaces can provide benefits gained from exercise, more sunlight, cleaner air, and the regenerative power that comes from being close to nature.”

You can take part by uploading your own canal scene photos, and also help the study by playing ‘Rate This Scene’ to tell the Trust what locations you think are scenic or not. The results collected will help the Canal & River Trust define the key elements of scenic beauty, so they can create more for people to enjoy.


Take part in the Canal & River Trust Science of Scenery study and join the fight to save your canal by heading to canalrivertrust.org.uk/scenic