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 Woodland Wellbeing for Adults

The Woodland Wellbeing programme is based on working alongside the 5 steps to wellbeing set out by the NHS. We have taken each step and set out how being outside in the natural environment will fit in with the NHS 5 steps to wellbeing.

The 5 steps to wellbeing

Our sessions aim to improve people’s quality of life through the 5 steps to wellbeing (used by the NHS):

•        Connect to others through shared experience and to the wider natural environment

•           Be active through walking, conservation work, arts, crafts and bush craft skills

•           Keep learning about wildlife, tool use and through creative expression

•           Give to others through conservation work, wildlife surveys and supporting each other as a group

•           Take notice through sensory activities, meditation and spending regular time in nature.


The benefits of being outdoors

We encourage people to try new things, trust each other, step out of their comfort zone and feel a sense of achievement and learning something new and different sessions are just as valuable for support workers. They participate in sessions on an equal footing with the people that they support. This helps them to see new potential in the people they support and re-assess what they are able to do. It is also a chance for them to re-charge and relax.

People with complex needs can find it particularly rewarding to explore the woods using their senses. We’ve worked with people who have very limited mobility and communication who’ve found that woodlands provide a rich and stimulating environment.

Just spending some time away from the normal demands of daily life, spending time in a truly wild woodland can help you experience more than just a breath of fresh air. If you’re going through a stressful time in your life, attending the Woodland Wellbeing sessions can help improve energy levels, build resilience, reinstate self-confidence and promote self-esteem. Why not give it a go and experience the benefits for yourself. 


Activities and Sessions

The sessions will be based around the needs of the clients but could include activities from the list below, during the first week we would run a get to know each other session and discuss what they would all like to get out of the programme as a group or individually. Sessions can be different every week or they can run into each other starting with the basics such as fire lighting and progressing on and learning the full range of outdoor based activities such as 


  • Bush craft skills such as shelter building

  • Nature-based arts and crafts

  • Practical woodland management

  • Conservation and wildlife surveys

  • Activities that focus on mindfulness and relaxation

  • Learning how to light and site fires and how to safely extinguish (flint and steel, bow drills)

  • Outdoor cooking (different methods)

  • Camp craft (shelter building, natural and man-made)

  • Tool use (knives, hatchets, saws, loppers, secateurs, bill hook)

  • Making mallets, spoon carving

  • Learning about navigation

  • Archery

  • Axe throwing

  • Creative writing and art

  • Walking and exploring

  • Seasonal decorations and activates

  • Learning about Flora & Fona

Week 1

Group introduction, talk about future weeks and what they are hoping to get out of the programme, chatting round the fire, exploring the woodland area

Week 2

Natural  shelter building using natural material found within the woodland environment


Week 3

Fire lighting using various methods and see which one is more effective. Set and light a fire to make warm drinks for the group

Week 4

Cooking a basic group meal on an open fire including hot drinks

Week 5

Woodland arts and crafts, using both manmade and natural materials to create a collage of pictures that best represents the environment you are in

Week 6

Tool usage, look at the different types of tools we use, what they are for and practise using some of them. Knives for whittling sticks, saws for prooning trees, hatchets for chopping wood


The 6 sessions highlighted above are only as an example and can be tailored to meet the needs of the group. We can run longer programmes or short programmes depending on the client’s needs and what they hope to gain from these sessions. During the sessions we would have hot drinks and food available for the clients and staff. The sessions do not have to be limited to 6 weeks they can run for longer as we have lots of activities to keep us going, and the longer a programme runs for the more the individual will get out of it. Studies have proved that when Outdoor Wellbeing is carried out it can help in many ways with the most noticeable benefits being,


  • Boosts our energy

  • Boosts our creativity

  • Boosts our immune system, thanks to Vitamin D

  • Natural sunlight can help reduce pain

  • Free, all-natural aromatherapy

  • Decreases anxiety

  • Improves our focus

  • Can help improve our sleep



Another good point to mention, and highly relevant for our current times, is that many health experts now agree that being outdoors poses a lower risk for coronavirus transmission than being indoors.

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