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26.07.13: New woodland paths for everyone to enjoy

To help promote the benefits of exercise and make the best use of our green spaces, NHS Ayrshire & Arran has developed the grounds of University Hospital Ayr and Ailsa Hospital to provide patients, staff and visitors with an accessible outdoor space.

The newly designed paths, part funded by Forestry Commission Scotland, can be used for walking, taking in nature or spending time relaxing or recuperating in peaceful surroundings. The paths have lots of seating and rest areas, are wheelchair accessible and suitable for everyone.

Within the two hospital campuses there are around 28 hectares of green space. This includes mature woodland with some of the oldest trees around 150 years old and also a newly planted orchard. The woods are full of interesting wildlife including foxes, pheasants, squirrels and you can even see deer passing through the woods most days. One resident of the woods has been around so long he has been given a name - Big Eric, the large hare, can be spotted most days.

At the official opening of the paths Chief Executive John Burns revealed their names, as chosen by staff and patients. The Ailsa Hospital path has been named as Evergreen Way and the University Hospital path is Woodland Wynd.

John Burns, commented: "These paths are a great way for our patients, staff and visitors to get out and enjoy the woodland we are very lucky to have on our doorstep. Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise to fit in to our everyday lives. I know I will try my best to get out and enjoy the paths whenever I can."

Kevin Lafferty, Forestry Commission Scotland's Health Adviser added:

"Woodlands and greenspace are nature's own natural health service.

"The new woodland path network will encourage more people to go outside and get active. This can be just the tonic needed to help recharge the batteries, get fit or recuperate from an operation."

Look out for information leaflets in University Hospital Ayr and Ailsa Hospital featuring where the paths are and things to see and do when you're out walking.

Ends

Date of release: Friday 26 July 2013

Photographs:
NHS Ayrshire & Arran's Chief Executive John Burns pedals his way to a smoothie.

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Representatives from NHS Ayrshire & Arran, Forestry Commission Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland launch the new pathways at University Hospital Ayr and Ailsa Hospital.

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Connor Skipsey (7) and his big sister Rhianna Skipsey (10) from Tarbolton have fun on the chairs in the Ailsa Hospital Evergreen Way path.

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Click here to download the press release.

For further media enquiries about this topic, please contact:

Louise Christie
Communications Assistant
NHS Ayrshire & Arran
University Hospital Crosshouse
Kilmarnock KA2 0BB
Telephone: 01563 826111
Out-of-hours: 07769 648975
louise.christie@aaaht.scot.nhs.uk

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