Man with dog in the forest

Julian's story: Forests for space and calm

This post was written by Julian, an outdoor enthusiast and dog lover. Julian has found that exploring the forests with his canine companion gives him a chance to connect and strengthen their bond. Learn more about forest wellbeing.

Forests and woodlands have always held a special place in my mind and in my heart.

As a young child I spent time in the woodlands with my older brother fishing, making dens and fighting hordes of monsters with our active imaginations. 

As I grew up forests and woodlands have had a much more significant impact for my health both mentally and physically.

Conifer shadow forest

I lost my brother in my early twenties which left me suffering with depression.

The forest always gave me space to try and sort out the thoughts storming through my head, along with the connection to my brother and the fantastic memories I have from our childhood.

In my mid-twenties I took the decision to adopt a rescue dog named Skyler. 

"I needed an excuse to get out more and Skyler has given me that in spades."

Shortly after bringing my new dog home I realised that we both had a shared love for the outdoors, but more specifically the forest and woodlands available to us.

We started doing canicross, which harnesses us together while we run. This lets Skyler exercise and gives me the chance to keep up. Running together in the forests lets us connect and strengthen our bond.

Canix Westonbirt
Man walking away down a forest path

When we’re not running together, we often go to forests and woodlands for our daily adventures. Skyler loves to zoom around, leaping over logs, darting between the trees, jumping into ponds and streams and generally getting very muddy.

Whilst she enjoys herself, I continue to find space, calm and a feeling of escape and safety, surrounded by the protective giant trees.

"I find space, calm and a feeling of escape and safety, surrounded by the protective giant trees."

We’re now aiming to try another dog/human sport – this one’s called bikejoring which is riding a bike with your dog pulling you.

The future looks set for us to continue using the forests around us.

Dogs bikejoring

Thank you to Julian for sharing his inspiring and open story. Skyler is one lucky dog!

Forests are places you can seek adventure, make memories or find escape, and running with pooches is just one of many ways that forests can help strengthen and reinforce your wellbeing.

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