How your whole family can reap the benefits of being out and about in the forest

Dog friendly holidays in the woods

Earlier this year, our friends at Forest Holidays headed to the 3rd Annual Nature Connections conference to find out about the benefits of nature. Have a read and remind yourself of the wonder that is the great outdoors…

Nature has real and measurable health benefits

According to Dr. Miles Richardson from Derby University, a specialist in nature connections, spending time taking notice of nature has a host of real and measurable benefits. It can reduce your blood pressure, increase your serotonin levels, boost your immune system and bring balance to your emotions, making you happier and calmer and resulting in significantly improved physical and mental health.

If you haven’t got time to get active outdoors right now, try imagining yourself in a beautiful forest, taking in the smells and stunning scenery. You’ll feel much better.

Immerse yourself in the natural world

It’s not just about being outside though. Dr. Richardson’s research suggests that while simply walking in a wood will of course bring wellbeing benefits, you need to absorb your surroundings to maximise the impact.  Using all our senses can enhance the benefits we experience, so give it a try. Breathe in the beauty of the scenery, touch plants, listen to the sounds around you.

Forest Holidays see the value of the natural environment to our guests and visitors every day. They encourage activities such as photography, art, den building, and star gazing which all inspire this connection.

Forests are ‘Nature’s Health Service’

Forest Holidays work closely with the Forestry Commission who see the benefits too. The research arm of the Forestry Commission, Forest Research, has been examining the link between the restorative health benefits of nature for over a decade and describes woodlands as ‘Nature’s Health Service’, encouraging health professionals and providers to look to natural environments for their patients.

The good news is, there is a Forestry Commission woodland near you wherever you are, so why don’t you head there and see what it does for you?

Getting children out to play

Pet friendly forest holidays
Forest Holidays are pet, parent and child friendly

Speaker after speaker at the Nature Connections conference described the critical importance of childhood experiences provided by muddy play, bushcraft and outdoor adventures.

Forest Holidays love seeing children engaging, exploring and immersing themselves in nature. As well as Forest Ranger Adventures for guests, many of the Forest Rangers work with local schools on projects.

Here’s something to try:
In a recent study Dr. Richardson asked a group of 50 people to notice three good things in nature every day for a period of time. The findings revealed that compared to those who simply noted factual things, this group had a significant increase in nature connectedness and associated psychological health.

This is something that we can all try, whether in a rural or urban environment:

  1. Each day try to notice three good things in nature.
  2. You may like to take a photo or write them down, along with how the make you feel
  3. Focus on your senses – what do you see, hear, smell, touch and taste?
  4. Notice changes in the weather and the seasons and the differences these bring
  5. Slow down and take time to enjoy the beauty that is around you

Forest Bathing

On a Forest Holiday, you are in the heart of nature. Forest Bathing is a natural way to calm your senses in a busy world. Originating in Japan, where it is now an integral part of the health system, it simply means immersing yourself in a forest environment and actively reconnecting with nature by being fully present in the moment. It draws on the therapeutic powers of nature and connects people with the natural environment.

Forest Holidays now runs Forest Bathing sessions at Blackwood Forest. The session combines leisurely walks under forest canopy with guided activities and meditations to help you open your senses, hone your intuition and experience the forest as you never have before.

Whatever you choose to do to connect with nature, do it today and keep doing it – it’s good for you!

Save 5% at Forest Holidays

A Forest Holiday is whatever you want it to be. Escape to one of 10 idyllic locations, choose from cabins set deep in woodlands, on the edge of mighty lochs, or in bright forest meadows and make your holiday your own.

Fancy an escape to Forest Holidays? Simply enter ACTIVEOUTDOORS to save 5% when you and enjoy a holiday before 31 May 2019. The 5% discount can be taken on all cabin types.