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6/09/2017

Focus on a feel-good autumn with the Forestry Commission

Cycling in autumn © Forestry Commission

Cycling in Autumn

Forestry Commission England is giving a fresh focus to 'forest bathing' through a new partnership with mental health charity Mind.


'Feel Good autumn' is a new initiative encouraging people to spend time in the forest to boost their wellbeing, after 94% of respondents to a Mind survey said green exercise had benefited their mental health.


With back to work blues on the horizon, the Forestry Commission have developed top tips and activities for practicing mindfulness in the forest, as well as events and workshops to get the nation feeling good.


Sensory mindful activities have been created – from feeling the forest to rainbow walks and forest sketching – to encourage people to let nature boost their mood.


Ten secret autumn spots have been chosen where people can enjoy a beautiful view, sit and take in the moment, or develop a mindful mantra.

Walking in autumn © Westonbirt Arboretum with children
Walking in autumn at Westonbirt Arboretum

For those seeking some autumn activity, there's everything from yoga, to nordic walking, green woodworking and guided bike rides.


People looking for some peace and quiet away from the busy day-to-day can enjoy self-led walking trails, gentle cycling routes and secret autumn spots.


Bridgette Hall, Recreation Manager for the Forestry Commission said: “It's great to be working with Mind to highlight how spending time outdoors benefits our mental and physical health. The nation's woods and forests are the perfect place to enjoy a gentle walk, get back on your bike, or just take in the wonderful scenery and spend some time in nature.  


Feel Good autumn is about giving everyone the opportunity to feel the health benefits from time in the forest, through new walking trails, guided cycling, mindful activities and woodland workshops.”


Hayley Jarvis, Community Programmes Manager for Mind said: “We're delighted to be partnering with the Forestry Commission. Doing physical activity in the fresh air, be it walking or conservation work, is natural, free and accessible and it has been proven to boost mental wellbeing as well as improving physical health.


Mind research found that after a single walk in the countryside, 90 per cent of participants had increased levels of self-esteem, with nearly three quarters reporting decreased levels of depression. We hope that 'Feel Good autumn' will encourage more people to take up green exercise as a way of improving and maintaining mental wellbeing.”


Top feel-good autumn events include Nordic walking in Whinlatter Forest; guided walks through Westonbirt Arboretum; and star gazing at Sherwood Pines Forest Park.


For more information please visit www.forestry.gov.uk/autumn

Walking in autumn © Westonbirt Arboretum