2 people hugging a tree

Prescribe yourself with a dose of the forest

Our nation’s forests are a fantastic for boosting our mental and physical health, and are now estimated at saving the UK a staggering £185 million a year in mental health costs. To help people find a way they can connect with forests to support their wellbeing, Forestry England are excited to be supporting this year’s Social Prescribing Day.

Nature-based activities have a positive impact on people’s health and research shows that spending just 2 hours a week in nature significantly improves our health and satisfaction. From walking to mountain biking, enjoying art and music, volunteering and spending time with others, the nation’s forests offer many ways for people of all ages to feel good.

To help you feel good in the forest during Social Prescribing Week and beyond here are Forestry England’s top tips:

  1. Volunteer - If you enjoy the outdoors, want to learn new skills, meet new people and be part of a team, why not get involved with your local Forestry England Forest as a volunteer? Volunteering and helping others can help us feel a sense of belonging, make new friends, and connect with our communities. https://www.forestryengland.uk/volunteering
  2. Connect with nature - Spending time outside is brilliant but making connections with nature has even more benefits to our wellbeing. Next time you take your children to your local forest, download one of our spotter sheets to encourage them to take a closer look. https://www.forestryengland.uk/pdf-download/wildlife-spotter-guide-activity-sheet
  3. Get Active - Forests are closer than you think and are the perfect places to take up a new healthy habit or find some peace. With level access walking and cycling trails, cafes and toilets on site as well as a range of activities on offer including Nordic walking, local beginner running clubs, and forest yoga, there’s something for you!https://www.forestryengland.uk/visit
  4. Use all your senses – The simple method of being calm and quiet amongst the trees, observing nature around you whilst breathing deeply can help both adults and children de-stress and boost health and wellbeing naturally. To allow all visitors to the forest the opportunity to connect, Forestry England have teamed up with Sense Charity to create and map sensory walk routes. Let the sounds, sights and smells of the forest reduce your stress, stimulate your senses, and spark your imagination! https://www.forestryengland.uk/activities/sensory-walks
  5. Connect to the forest, wherever you are - Sometimes we can’t get to a forest, but we still need our forest fix!  Wherever you are, you can immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the forest with some virtual forest bathing, discover white-tailed eagles or become a tree explorer!  Bring the forest to you or share it with a friend or someone you’re supporting. https://www.forestryengland.uk/feel-good-in-the-forest

The nation’s forests play a vital role in enhancing the health and wellbeing of the nation and have a range of opportunities to help all people. Whether it’s to seek adventure, make memories and find escape, our forests are here to take care of you.

Images available here. Please credit Forestry England/Crown copyright

Notes to Editor

  • Forestry England manages and cares for the nation’s 1,500 woods and forests, with over 296 million visits per year. As England’s largest land manager, we shape landscapes and enhance forests for people to enjoy, wildlife to flourish and businesses to grow. We are continuing the work we have already started to make the nation’s forests resilient to climate change and by 2026 we will:  
  • create at least 6,000 more hectares where we integrate wilding activities in our productive forests.
  • increase the diversity of visitors to the nation’s forests and have one million hours of high-quality volunteer time given to the nation’s forests
  • plant at least 2,000 hectares of new, high quality, predominantly broadleaf woodlands
  • For more information visit forestryengland.uk Forestry England is an agency of the Forestry Commission.