I have been attending the Wellbeing with Nature sessions at the woodland since before the Pandemic started and really missed the regular outing to meet up with others who enjoy some time out in what is a really calming place to be.
We meet weekly on a Wednesday morning for about 3 hours, whatever the weather (unless it’s really windy).
Being with the group is something I really look forward to. Ages range from between people in their 30’s to those who are over 80 and we all enjoy getting involved in activities such as light woodland management tasks, woodland crafts, fire making and cooking, woodland surveys of birds, flowers, trees and even grasses (I never knew there were so many different varieties).
We also enjoy the social time made to just sit and chat, which is so valued by those of us who have lost partners and live alone. I think I do more chatting at the woodland sesions than I do for the rest of the week.
Activities to suit different abilities
Whatever activity we are invited to engage with it is offered at a level that suits us individually, in respect of age and physical ability. There’s no pressure to do more than you can or want to do, which helps put me at ease as I’m not as fit or as agile as I used to be.
Everyone is made to feel part of a community and indeed we soon find we’re greeting each other as long lost friends, even if it has only been a week since we’ve seen one another.
The woodland is a wild place and the ground is very uneven in places. Not being used to walking on uneven ground at my age I did worriy a little to begin with, as I was anxious about falling over. However, with guidance to take things slowly and other people around to help me I soon found my feet, in more ways that one. Susan explained to me that it is actually quite good for us to experience walking on some uneven ground as it helps retrain our muscles to be more flexible and responsive Over time I have indeed found Susan’s advice to be helpful as I actually feel my leg muscles are stronger and I am more confident both with walking and balance at home too (which had begun to worry me a little).
Benefits of nature connection for wellbeing
I’ve found that spendng 2 or 3 hours in the woodland delivers a sense of calmness that soothes my mind and lifts my mood. When I go home I feel tired but I also feel re-energised. The effect the sessions has on me is difficult to describe exactly, but the experience somehow revitalises me.
Before I attended these sessions I would have said that I did nature connection as I have a garden where I spend time in every day. However, I’ve learned that there is something deeper to be gained through spending time in nature without having a focus on jobs to be done.
We do light woodland management tasks at the woodland but it is somehow different to gardening because we’re not trying to create order, but rather connect with a deeper sense of caring for whatever area we are managing.
Susan’s expalnation that what we get back from caring for the woodland is how we feel in ourselves does indeed ring true to me. I feel soothed and reblanced by the end of each session – a bit like going to a spa, but cheaper!
Added benefits of attending wellbeing with nature sessions
Outdoor Tribue runs intergenerational events, encouraging differrent ages to engage wit shared activities. Since the Pandemic these sessions have reduced in number but are starting up again for families with special needs children.It isI’ve been invovled in a number of intergenerational events and, despite initial nervousness, have found they have provided me with experiences I thought were in my dim and distant past.
There’s nothing like accompanying small children on a scavenger hunt ot find hidden woodland creatures (the toy variety), the enthusiams of the children is infectious and you cannot help but feel buoyed up by the experience.
Bug hunts are popular at the family sessions. It is just such fun to accompany children and their parents to places in the wood where you’re fairly confident they will find something that surprises and thrills the child clutching the magnifying glass and the parent following behind with the ID chart.
Susan often talks about nature connection activities helping us all to smile from the inside and although I was a little skeptical to begin with I have to say she’s absolutely right. Even on a rainy day, when usually I wouldn’t venture outdoors, I find a few hours doing some nature connection at the wood just does it for me. I become a happier bunny!