Get out! Breathe. Enjoy. Do more with your weekends.
If weekends go by in a tedious blur of catching up on household chores followed by drinks at the same old neighbourhood pub, and Monday comes around before you know it, then maybe you need to get out of the city and into the great outdoors.
Research from The Wildlife Trusts (UK)* has shown that getting out in nature and engaging with it in some way, can make you happier, healthier and more connected to the natural world around you.
In 2016, The Wildlife Trusts created ’30 Days Wild’, a mass engagement campaign aimed at encouraging Britons to engage with nature every day for a month. An estimated 18500 people took part. And the results? Participants showed a sustained increase in wellbeing and happiness levels. They also felt more connected to nature. This increase in kinship with nature led to a growth in pro-nature behaviours. So it turns out that being outdoors in nature is also good for nature conservation.
John Muir (a naturalist and an early advocate for the preservation of wilderness in US) invites us to dive into the joys of the outdoors, ‘getting in touch with the nerves of Mother Earth; jumping from rock to rock, feeling the life of them, learning the songs of them, panting in whole-souled exercise, and rejoicing in deep, long-drawn breaths of pure wildness.’**
So if your heart lifts at these words, and more especially if it doesn’t, then maybe nature is beckoning. Here are some ideas for outdoor adventures not far from the hustle and bustle of London:
1. Get some fresh ideas with fresh water fishing:
This adventure takes place in the private grounds of Bossington Estate in South Downs National Park. With this one-day activity, you get to learn how to fly-fish and immerse yourself in the beautiful surroundings of this private lake. All technical kit and tuition from an experienced guide are provided. All you need is a sense of adventure. Or a hankering to be like Brad Pitt in ‘A River Runs Through It’.
Driving distance from London: 1 hour 30 mins. Full details HERE.
2. Stretch your horizons and your legs with a walking day out in the Chilterns:
This outdoor adventure takes place near Tring, a quaint market town just outside London. Your guide will meet you at the Tring train station in the morning. From there, the winding road will take you through ancient woodlands and along chalk hills. This walk is suitable for beginners and takes you through a part of England that has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Driving distance from London: 1 hour 30 mins. Full details and booking HERE.
3. Take a mindful hike outside of London, in Epping Forest:
This 6 000-acre ancient woodland will bathe you in its aeons-old tranquillity and silence. And even though it’s not even 15 miles from central London, you will soon feel like you are centuries away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Driving distance from London: 55 mins. Find out more HERE.
4. Or you could connect with an equine creature and spend a pleasant day out on horseback:
Ridgway Stables offer a delightful riding experience on Wimbledon common. This expanse of over 1000 acres has forestland, a lake, a wild area and even old windmills. With over forty horses to choose from, the school focuses on personal attention and tailored riding lessons to all.
Driving distance from central London: 46 mins.
5. Make a tree friend:
And if getting out of the city for a weekend isn’t an option, then there are ways to connect with nature right outside your front door. Deepen your connection to the earth by introducing yourself to a tree. Choose one that catches your eye in a nearby park or even in your garden. Place your hand on its bark. Walk around it and take in its height and girth. Sit yourself down on the grass at its feet and lean against its woody trunk. Lie down beneath it and look up at the sky through its canopy of leaves.
Bonus 1. London National Park City:
Or if introducing yourself to a tree seem a bit too hippy and you don’t own a pair of Birkenstocks, then you could check out the London National Park City plans underway and the myriad ways to connect with the green spaces in the UK’s capital city during upcoming London Park City Week on 21–29 of July 2018. Or check out these 7 walks in London from one of our favourite magazines — Wanderlust.
Bonus 2. Outside of London:
Don’t live in London, then just head to your local park, hill, river or seaside with a friend or family member (including those with 4 legs). The UK is blessed with over 7000 miles of coastline! Plus according to this BBC land use article the UK has over 34% natural land.
As John Muir so wisely declared in his book ‘Our National Parks’:
“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”