5 activities to boost your wellbeing in the National Forest this spring 2022

16th Mar 2022

From the bursts of flora, the chorus of bird song, to the first glimpse of a butterfly, spring is here and what better way to boost your wellbeing than to head out into the Forest to try some nature-based activities. From forest bathing to wildlife watching, there’s so much to experience in the Forest this season. 

Forest Bathing

What better way to take in the sights of the season than to slow down, breathe and reconnect with a gentle forest bathing walk. Not only are they a great way to really focus in on the natural world around you, they also have been proven to reduce stress, improve feelings of happiness and free up creativity, as well as lower heart rate, blood pressure and boost your immune system. Forest bathing can be as simple as taking a wander through your local woodland but joining a group walk is a good idea if you’re new to the practice and want to learn more. Better Outdoors are hosting a Spring Equinox Forest Bathing Walk on 20th March at Grange Nature Reserve in Snibston. So why not step into spring, immerse yourself in the Forest and take a moment to notice nature’s finer details: from the birdsong echoing from the canopy, buzzing of the first bees to the delicate scent of blossom.

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Meditation

Meditation can also be a great way to boost your wellbeing, and is ideal for improving focus, reducing stress and anxiety, increasing memory and mind clarity. It might be you choose to find a quiet spot in a woodland and just take a moment to completely switch off from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Or if you want to give meditation a go, and are not sure how to get started South Derbyshire-based Wild Minds run regular morning and evening meditation sessions in the woodlands at Moira Furnace, which provide people with the mental health benefits of meditation alongside the additional benefits of being in nature, as they guide you through the different types of meditation practice including visualisation, walking meditations and Buddhist to name a few, all designed to help you relax, switch off and reset in nature.

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Wildlife watching

Watching wildlife can do wonders for our mental wellbeing, making us feel happy and improving our connection with the natural world. At this time of year bird life is abundant, with blue tits, blackbirds and robins zipping around with beaks full of grasses and twigs as they begin nest-building. If you are keen to learn more about the wildlife in the Forest this spring, then the Environment Education Project at Rosliston Forestry Centre have a variety of events, including bird identification sessions on the 12th and 19th April which are the ideal way to increase your knowledge of birds, as you see what feathered inhabitants you can spot from the onsite hide. You can also enjoy one of spring’s greatest spectacles, the dawn chorus with a guided walk around the trails on 1st May, as you revel in the sweet sound of birdsong and learn to identify some of the individual calls. Find out more (link to events)

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Learn from nature

Springtime is all about change and renewal, and there is a lot of inspiration that we can take from nature use in our everyday lives. The ‘Think Like A Tree’ programme created by Sarah Spencer builds on this and is an accessible way for anyone to harness the wisdom of the natural world, and apply it in their own lives. If you would like to try the course, there will be ‘Think Like A Tree’ taster sessions held at Rosliston Forestry Centre on the 3rd April, or if you want to fully immerse yourself in nature for the day, there will be a ‘Think Like a Tree’ wellbeing weekend for 18-25 year olds, held at Whistlewood Common, a beautiful woodland setting in Melbourne, where you will relax and unwind for a day of ‘being, thinking and doing’ inspired by the trees, plants and other living beings.

Go to Think Like a Tree website

Walking

Walking is a really simple way to boost your mental wellbeing, and with hundreds of miles of paths and trails in the National Forest it’s so easy discover somewhere new. This time of year, walking is a great way to witness the Forest in all its spring beauty, with the forest floor alive with colour and bursting buds brightening up bare branches. If you are wanting a bit of inspiration to lace up those boots and tread a new path, then the National Forest Walking Festival 14th - 26th May, is a great way to explore the Forest through guided walks across the National Forest trails. Look out for the surprising range of wildlife in and around the Forest, and marvel at the geological stories beneath your feet. This year the walking festival is centred around wildlife with themed walks in our programme to celebrate and learn about nature. Whatever you choose to do this season, we hope you find solace in the woodlands of the Forest and enjoy exploring and trying new things this spring.

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