A Dose of Nature research (2015-2016)
A Dose of Nature was set up by Dr Dan Bloomfield at the University of Exeter. The aim of the project was to find ways in which nature can be more actively used to help people with chronic health problems, and how the UK health system can be involved in making that happen.
As part of this research Into the Woods (with The Forest of Avon Trust, Bristol Public Health and Southmead and Henbury Family Practice) ran a Woodland Wellbeing, mental health project based in Southmead, Bristol. Sessions were aimed at people living with depression, anxiety and other low to mid level mental health needs. Participants were referred by their GP and supported by Southmead’s social prescribing coordinator, who also evaluated the sessions.
Good from Woods research (2013-2015)
Good from Woods is a lottery funded project, led by Silvanus Trust in collaboration with Plymouth University, in partnership with the Neroche Scheme, The Woodland Trust and Forest Research.
Into the Woods carried out research into woodland and wellbeing with two groups of adults with learning difficulties in Bristol.
Outcomes: woodland activities/games enabled participants to experience positive emotions and group cohesion. The wood provided opportunities for personal development and feelings of competence and confidence to showcase new skills, opportunities to connect and work with others.
Outcomes: positive relationships between staff and service users working on an equal footing in a new environment, sensory and creative activities connected with flow/mindfulness, encouraging sense of purposefulness and feelings of competency.
Presenting out findings
We have delivered presentations and workshops about our research at Avon Learning Disabilities and Research Network, Bristol Big Green Week, the Silvanus Trust Conference and National Community Forest Conference.
You can read the presentation we gave to the National Community Forest Partnership here (pdf)
We are now leading the development of a research toolkit for use by other practitioners who want to research the effects of activities in the natural environment on their groups.
Other research in this field
The Forestry Commission: Forest Research – research into how trees and woods affect wellbeing and quality of life.
The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom – a collection of studies about Forest School and children.