We asked staff at Hull and East Yorkshire Mind where they go to connect with nature and most importantly why. Read their stories below to get some inspiration.
Here’s Steve’s Story:
I went to Langdale Forest, Bickley school House for a walk, I wild camp there when allowed as there is no mobile reception. You are really away from everything. It is a good chance to watch the seasons change as every visit is different. I walked about 17000 steps over 16 floors during the walk and it was good to see the trees have started to bud.
I often go up at different times of the year and have been there at minus 4 degrees and into the 30’s, either way it’s always great to be there.
I cook over a fire and the local farmers are really good as we have been going there for over 20 years, they trust us and we respect the land. One of the farmers is happy for us to leave our vehicles on his hard standing. He often pops down for a chat.
Here’s another story from one of the team:
“I love walking around Welton, there’s loads of different trails that you can follow. You can walk up Kidd Lane, up the hill and see over Elloughton and Brough, the view is so nice. I often keep walking and if you carry on you can go through the woods and it brings you back round to near the hill again (as long as you don’t get lost along the way!).
There’s also another one I know! Welton Dale, along The Yorkshire Wolds Way which is a nice little walk around through woodland.
I really would recommend it!
I like walking, especially around here as I have recently moved to the area and there is so much to see. I also find it peaceful and gets me away from a screen and social media, it just feels good to be active”
Lastly, here’s Dan’s on what nature means to him:
I took this picture two miles from home at the latter stages of a long run, suffering and miserable whilst training for a race. I had earphones in and was focussing on my watch looking at time and distance and speed. The pause to take the photo was a re-focus (excuse the pun) moment.
I’d spent the last three hours in nature and hadn’t seen any of it, or heard it, or felt it. I’d wasted it. I might as well have been on a treadmill in a gym, staring at a wall.
On my next run I didn’t put in my earphones and never have and I listened. I listened to the sounds in the woods and fields. Sometimes there was silence, sometimes there was bird song, but always there was my breath, a constant reminder that I am alive.
Without distractions I could pay attention to change; the change of colours of the seasons. Trees became friends who I spoke to as I ran past and I wondered about all the change they had seen in their lifetime. Wildlife became running partners for brief moments who I shared a ‘Good morning’ with as we each then went about our business. The bleating of sheep often sounded like laughter at the sweaty, heavy breathing man running past. A group of snails on a tree stump a reminder of my speed.
Without distractions I could feel the privilege of seeing the sun rise and feel the warmth of its beauty as it gave start to a fresh day, a day where anything is possible.
Nature reminds me that my worries sometimes aren’t worries and allows me the chance to see things differently. Nature doesn’t judge if I cry as I move through it. Nature nudges me into a positive space. Nature has saved me, I’m sure of that.
Someone recently reminded me about the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, the simple and therapeutic act of spending time in a forest. Although not blessed with a forest right on my doorstep, I firmly believe the concept can and should apply to any space that could be called ‘nature’. So I urge you to find your bath in nature and immerse yourself in it (just keep your clothes on), you will not be disappointed.
We hope your enjoying Mental Health Awareness Week!