Health & Activity

Get active and healthy in the Forest. 

The National Forest is a great place to live, work, play and visit, and lead a healthy lifestyle. From miles of footpaths and bridleways, to acres of accessible woodland, getting out and about in the great outdoors really couldn’t be easier. Why not come and take a wander around our woodlands, a stroll through the countryside or a ride on our trails? Whatever your interest or motivation, there are lots of things to do and places to explore in the National Forest. Whether you want to break a sweat, go off exploring or just take some time out and enjoy nature you are sure to find something of interest.

Healthy activities in the Forest

Walking activities in the National Forest

Activities on foot

Grab your walking boots, your trainers or your dog and head out into the woods for a walk or a run, or try your hand at orienteering or geocaching.

Cycling activities in the National Forest

Activities on wheels

Get on your bike and go out for a pedal along the quiet country lanes, the traffic-free bridleways or even visit the National Forest Cycle Centre. 

Activities on hooves

The view from horseback is the perfect way to enjoy the National Forest. There are miles of quiet lanes, bridleways and permissive horse routes to explore.

Activities on water

From sailing to canoeing, swimming to rowing - if you enjoy life on the water you’re sure to find something to make a splash.

Health and wellbeing

Leading an active lifestyle is important for good physical and mental health and wellbeing. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, improve cardiovascular health, benefit your mental health and increase your life expectancy.

If you prefer your exercise on the gentle side, you will find the National Forest is a great place to enjoy the benefits of being outdoors whilst exercising your mind and body in a natural setting.

For your mind, why not try Forest bathing to get more connected with nature. For your health, come and join in on one of the gentle health walks which are a great way to be healthy and social.

Forest bathing

The term “Forest bathing” translates from the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku. Shinrin in Japanese means “ forest ,” and yoku means “ bath .” So shinrin-yoku means bathing in the forest atmosphere, or taking in the forest through our senses. This is not exercise, or hiking, or jogging. There is no water involved. It is simply immersing yourself in a forest setting and being present with the natural world and is a wonderful way to calm our senses in a busy world.

Walking for Health

If you have problems with your health, or if you've had them in the past, it can be hard to stay active. But walking could make all the difference. It's a low impact exercise, so it's easy for you to get involved - even if you're not feeling your best. In fact, walking could help you feel great again! Joining one of our walks with a trained walk leader could help you feel more confident about taking those first steps to a more active lifestyle. Visit walking for health to find out more.

Find out more

Volunteer

Without our walk leaders, health walks simply wouldn't be possible. If you want to support and inspire others to get active through walking then being a volunteer walk leader could be just the role for you. If you'd like to help out on walks but don't want to be responsible for leading the walk, there's still plenty to do. Particularly on larger walks, walk leaders can always use some helping hands .