New app informs about trees while encouraging exercise

Three new smartphone-supported "i-Tree Trails" around Devon's Torbay area are intended to encourage residents to exercise more in the fresh air while appreciating the area's trees.

Image: Kathryn Yengel (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Image: Kathryn Yengel (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The project, thought to be one of the first of its kind in England, is the result of collaboration between Torbay Council, an NHS clinical commissioning group, arboricultural contractor Hi-Line and social enterprise Treeconomics, with support from the Big Lottery Fund.

Treeconomics co-founder and chief executive Kenton Rogers said: "A new app developed for the trail will give people snippets of information that can be difficult to source otherwise, and provide some insight into the history of Torbay’s trees."

The app also allows users to add trees surrounding the trails.

Paul Hurrell, head of innovation at South Devon & Torbay NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, added: "Information is also provided for each trail about the positive impacts they can have on health.

"Across Europe, approximately one in every 15 deaths is associated with a lack of physical activity, and taking regular exercise, such as walking or cycling these trails can reduce these types of figures."

In 2011, Torbay became the first authority in the country to put a monetary value on its trees. Using i-Tree software, Treeconomics specialists calculated that its trees deliver benefits of around £1.5 million a year through filtering pollutants, storing carbon and improving health and wellbeing.

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