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How do forests improve our wellbeing?

Forests are places to seek adventure, make memories and find escape. For 100 years we've been looking after the nation's forests, so that they can take care of you.

Science backs this up too. Research shows that spending just 2 hours a week in nature significantly improves our health and satisfaction.

Adventure

Forests are dynamic environments to improve your physical and mental health.

They provide a backdrop to a huge variety of activities, demanding a range of fitness and motor skills. From birdwatching and photography, to mountain biking and sled dog training. If we're not seeking an adrenalin fix our senses relax under the forest canopy as we’re filled with energy from experiencing the landscape, and fresh forest air.

Escape

Forests offer unique sensory experiences for the chance to regain balance and escape from the pressures of everyday life.

They are a haven to escape and are especially restorative environments. The sounds, sights and smells of the forest play a role in reducing stress by stimulating the senses, such as the subtle shifts in temperature to the scent of pine needles crushed under-foot. Studies show that people relax best while seeing greens and blues.

Memories

Forests can be the social space that bring people and communities together.

The longevity of trees and forests means they often carry an emotional connection for people, inspire awe and provide a sense of time, and connect people with places and memories. They also offer a meeting place and a venue that forms an important aspect of local identity.

Research

Find out more about the wellbeing benefits of forests in the following reports:

1. People are more likely to behave more socially with strangers in woodland activities than they might do in everyday life (Forest Research)

2. Forests provide a backdrop for a whole range of physical activities, from walking and running, to mountain biking and kayaking (Forest Research)

3. Children and young people can gain a wide range of health, wellbeing and learning benefits by experiencing nature, including trees and woodlands (Forest Research)

4. Visiting forest environments can help lower blood pressure and pulse rate, reduce cortisol levels and suppress sympathetic nervous activity (Forest Europe)

5. Studies show a significant relationship between stress and the quantity of green space in the living and working environment (Forest Research / Mersey Forest)

Forests for wellbeing

Lake in autumnal forest
Explore the sights, sounds and smells of the season
Woman writing in a notepad by a pond
Allow yourself the time and space to reflect in the forest
Autumn at Blackwood Forest - Forest Holidays
Your chance for to win a voucher towards a forest getaway
Man volunteering in the forest, clearing woodland
Make life long friends and take on a new challenge through volunteering at your local forest