Herefordshire homes boast among the largest gardens, patios and balconies in the West Midlands, but more than one in 10 households don't have access to private outside space.

That is according to a new analysis of outdoor living space by the Office for National Statistics, which has also revealed the number of households that have had to make do without gardens during the coronavirus crisis.

The average size of private outdoor space in Herefordshire homes is 692.9 square metres – the second-largest in the West Midlands, where gardens are 327.4 square metres on average.

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The biggest gardens in the West Midlands are found in Malvern Hills, where residents enjoy 732.2 square metres apiece on average, while the smallest are in Stoke, at only 170.7 square metres.

The figures only include homes that have private outdoor space, and those without gardens, patios or balconies are excluded.

But 11% of Herefordshire households have no access to any private outdoor space at all – lower than the national average of 12%.


Mental health charity Mind says spending time outdoors during the coronavirus crisis can be an important way to boost our mood, help manage mental health problems, and improve our physical well-being.

While most people are now allowed outdoors for unlimited exercise, people who are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 are still shielding themselves at home.

The Resolution Foundation think tank says the lockdown has “brought to the fore a whole range of housing-related inequalities”, including insecurity for renters, overcrowding, and a lack of access to gardens and green spaces.

Principal research and policy analyst Lindsay Judge said: "Post-pandemic we need to ensure that housing policy focuses on quality and security, as well as quantity.

“That should mean homes – and housing contracts – that are fit for all types of families.”

According to the ONS, black people are four times more likely than white people to not have access to even a communal outdoor area nationally – 37% compared to 10%.

Older people and those in managerial or other white-collar occupations are also more likely to have a garden than younger people or manual workers.


Even with lockdown restrictions now eased slightly, Mind says some people may find it difficult to get outside as they feel low or unmotivated, or are worried about being near other people.

“However, there are lots of ways that we can overcome these barriers,” a spokesman said.

“We can start by bringing the nature into our homes by simply sitting by an open window, taking in the sounds, smells, and views.

“Buying a plant or seeds to grow inside or in the garden can also help us become familiar with nature.”