Lakeland park’s wild ideas to spread happiness

Good connections:

Good connections: Henry Wild (above) supports university’s view that nature and happiness are firmly linked

A Lakeland holiday park has given its backing to a new University of Derby research report which says that going wild every day for a month can boost physical and mental wellbeing.

The university’s Nature Connectedness Research Group has found that people who engage with nature on a daily basis become happier and healthier.

Cuddling a conifer

Cuddling a conifer can enhance wellbeing, says Skelwith Fold

Henry Wild, director of Skelwith Fold in Ambleside, says the findings support the feedback his park has received from customers about what they enjoy most on their breaks.

In virtually every instance, says Henry, it’s activities connected with nature which tick the most “wellbeing boxes” among people coming to stay.

The university report also states that a connection to the wild need only be fleeting in order to provide the mind and body benefits offered by nature..

So to help guests reap the rewards, Skelwith Fold has now published seven suggestions which holidaymakers might like to try over a week’s holiday at the park.

They can be undertaken by a single person, or the whole family together – and needn’t take more than a few minutes out of each day. It suggests…

  • Find evidence, tracks or droppings, of the red squirrels, badgers or deer on the park
  • Go the park’s highest point, with a map, and name five of the mountains you see
  • Hug six different trees for one minute each: three hardwoods, and three conifers
  • Stand near the park’s tarn and identify a dragonfly, kingfisher or water boatman
  • Stroll for ten minutes in the park’s woodland, and hear ten different bird songs
  • Go foraging, and snack on three different edible plants or berries
  • Spot four different flowers you can’t name. And learn what they are called.

Activities such as these, said Henry, support the university’s contention that discovering one small but positive thing in nature every day can provide a huge mental and physical boost:

“Skelwith Fold covers over one hundred acres of countryside, but only a tiny percentage of it is occupied by holiday homes or touring pitches,” he said.

Botanist David Bellamy at Skelwith Fold's historic tarn

Botanist David Bellamy at Skelwith Fold’s historic tarn. Professor Bellamy says the park is a “wildlife wonderland” and has presented it with his prestigious gold conservation award

“That means everyone here can enjoy a wilderness experience in just a few minutes by entering an area of near-isolation where nature is all-encompassing.

“It’s at times like these when you can feel very closely connected with the natural world, and in a way which just isn’t possible in towns or cities.

“Many touring guests say it’s the reason they return here again and again, and also why many people choose to buy a holiday home at Skelwith and regularly enjoy the unspoiled surroundings.

“We’ll be inviting guests this year to add other suggestions to our checklist of how to engage more closely with nature, and we’re hoping for lots of wild new ideas,” said Henry.

The park’s imaginative and often innovative approach to caring for the natural environment has won it the prestigious gold David Bellamy Conservation Award once again this year.

More information is available on Skelwith Fold’s website at www.skelwith.com

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