5 Ways the National Forest can help improve your Health & Wellbeing during the pandemic

1st Dec 2020

Whether you live here or are visiting, the National Forest is a place where you can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and connect with nature. There are so many benefits to spending time outdoors, especially in these unprecedented times, and with scientific evidence to prove that being in nature can improve our mental wellbeing, a bit of forest therapy could be just what you need. Here are just a few ideas of how the National Forest could help with your health and wellbeing…

1. Reflection in the Forest

The peace and tranquillity of a woodland can provide the perfect place to pause, relax and allow ourselves space and time to reflect and calm our busy minds. We have many woodlands in the National Forest, perfect for practising mindfulness, with the very sounds of the Forest being instantly soothing. Whether you just want to take a moment or two to immerse yourself in your surroundings, or meditate at a deeper level, the Forest really is a sanctuary for relaxation and can transport us to a calmer state of mind. So next time you have that busy or stressful day why not take yourself off, escape to the National Forest and try a bit of Forest Bathing?

2. Connecting with Nature in the Forest

Spending time connecting with nature can do wonders for our health and wellbeing, with regular contact in wildlife-rich environments linked to reduced stress and improved concentration. The National Forest provides the ideal place to get closer to nature, and the many species of birds, mammals and insects that live in the trees and woodlands. There are many ways you might catch a glimpse of these Forest dwellers – simply be still and quiet in the woods and let nature come to you. Alternatively, seek out one of the sites with a bird hide, like Hicks Lodge or Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood, where you are likely to get a good view of grebes, herons and other waterfowl. For a different experience why not visit the woodland at dusk and see bats silently swooping around a woodland glade?

Find a woodland

3. Socialise in the Forest

The National Forest is an ideal place to catch up with friends, meet colleagues or spend a family day out, with plenty of space to stick to the current social distancing guidelines. Whether it’s a lunch time walk around the Conkers Circuit, a bike ride with friends at Hicks Lodge or family picnic at Sence Valley, the Forest is a place where everyone can enjoy the outdoors, make memories and even make new friends. If it’s safe to do so, why not volunteer or join one of the many walking groups in the Forest? Volunteering can be a rewarding way to give something back to the community or help wildlife through woodland management, joining a group can be a fun way to discover new places. Both are great ways to explore the Forest and meet like-minded people. You can find out more about our walking groups and volunteering opportunities here on our website.

Find out more

4. Explore the Forest

Every step you take in the National Forest can mean the discovery of something new. With hundreds of miles of woodlands to explore, inspiring places to visit and new activities to try, you’ll have days of endless discoveries! Whether you like to cycle, run or ride, the Forest is designed to be explored in many different ways. With networks of paths, safe off-road cycle trails, or the 75-mile National Forest Way, there are many ways to explore the Forest – and perhaps discover a quiet country pub or tea shop en route. Or why not go native and become one with the Forest and learn how to build a shelter, forage for your dinner and cook over an open fire with a Bushcraft Day? And don’t forget, the National Forest isn’t just trees, there are lakes, canals and rivers, perfect for canoe paddles, or riding the winds by sailboat or windsurfing board! The sky is the limit when it comes to Forest adventures!

Find things to do

5. Sounds of the Forest

Just listening to the sounds of a forest can be great for our health and wellbeing. As we couldn’t all gather at Timber festival in the National Forest this year, our festival partners Wild Rumpus created the ‘Sounds of the Forest’, an international sound map to connect people all over the globe with woodlands and forest near them. Over 650 people from more than 50 countries contributed short audio postcards from the world’s woodlands, and musicians and artists have been commissioned to respond to the sound map to produce new work that will be premiered at Timber next year. So if you can’t get out into a woodland near you, tune into the online sound map for your forest fix. And why not experience the ultimate health and wellbeing fix and join us for Timber festival 2021, where artists, writers and musicians gather and react to the Forest in exhilarating ways! Book your tickets now.

Listen and book your tickets here!