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Forest Therapy in the Lake District

Don't you just love that feeling you're left with after a stroll through the lake district woodland, a picnic by the lake, or a just by reading a book overlooking the fells.

There’s something wonderfully mind mellowing about being in the great outdoors, tuning into the natural world around you, being present, and reconnecting with those things that really matter.

The significant benefits nature has on our physical and mental wellbeing, first became present in Japan. And the term ‘shinrin-yoku’, or ‘forest bathing’, materialised as a global pastime thereafter. The practice consists of walking, breathing, and opening the senses within natural surroundings to improve health and happiness.

Research has shown that immersing yourself in this practice could help bring you lots of health benefits. And what better place to practice than in the beautiful Lake District. 

Reduce Mental Fatigue

And our ability to focus. Our receives a ‘boost’ when we’re exposed to natural environments such as woodlands and forests. Nature and all its splendour, promotes feelings of wonder and admiration, supporting a reduction of mental fatigue, and instead filling us with mental energy.

By taking a few moments to admire the landscape, florae and wildlife within the Lake District, we help our brains switch off. Removing those pressing thoughts which cause us stress, helps us change gear and have a clear focus. 

Boost the Immune System

Forestry England has collected data from several studies that shows there is strong scientific evidence to support that breathing in phytoncide which trees emit to protect themselves from germs and insects, can help boost our immune system. This can help us fight off flu, colds and coughs.

Better Problem-Solving

Taking a walk within nature allows your brain to have time to be more open and reflect. By embracing your natural surroundings, your brain has time to daydream and wonder, thoughts drift in and out, and you’ll proceed to complete full thought processes without any interruptions.

This will helps boost creativity and your ability to solve problems, as you allow your mind to wonder and develop thought processes you may find difficult in other environments.

So, a stroll in the park before a meeting, or before the start of a new project, could be a good idea!

Diminish Stress

Many studies show that walking, sitting or exercising in forests can help reduce blood pressure, as well as help decrease levels of stress-related hormones. And this may well be due to scents and smells.

Scents and smells have a powerful effect on our emotions and our health, as we’re aware that smells are closely related to the emotional centre in our brains.

Pine, Fir and other trees in the Lake District contain the phytoncides such as alpha-pinene and beta-pinene which make up the essential oils of many plants and trees. Within studies, these were found to decrease levels of the cortisol stress hormone, reducing our overall levels of stress.

Help Lower Blood Pressure

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are actively promoting a ‘national trails day’ in the United States, as they are fully aware of the enormous health benefits forests and other natural environments have on us. 

And one of those benefits a forest walk promotes, is a reduction in blood pressure. A Japanese study showed that two groups of individuals partaking on two separate walks (one through a forest park and the other through the suburban city), showed significant differences in blood pressure levels. The group taking part on a forest walk had significantly lower blood pressure levels. 

 

Forests to Visit in the Lake District

Ennerdale Forest

Discover one of England’s most vibrant natural environments. Lying on the North Western edge of the Lake District National Park, Ennerdale is home to some of England’s most vibrant natural environments and one of the longest running wild land restoration projects in the UK. Rising abruptly out of the coastal plain of West Cumbria, Ennerdale is one of the most remote of Cumbrian valleys. There is a sense of tranquillity, self-will and wildness, a feeling more of Scotland or Scandinavia. Explore this unique valley and experience its special sense of wildness.

Dodd Wood

Dodd wood has some incredible views of the Northern Lake District, with fantastic walks and rare wildlife to be found. It’s a fantastic place to enjoy some amazing views of the northern Lake District, as the network of walking trails will take you deep into the woodland and to the top of Dodd Summit for views across the fells. Spot the magnificent Bassenthwaite ospreys from the specially designed viewpoints from April to September. Oh and keep an eye out for the red squirrels at the feeding station in the wood throughout the year. 

Grizedale Forest

In the heart of the Lake District, Grizedale forest offers an unrivalled day out for everyone. You’ll discover stunning artwork along the number of walking and cycling paths, as well as plenty of breath-taking views of the surrounding Lake District Landscape. Find walking and cycling trails, pick a quiet spot to admire the wildlife or discover amazing sculptures.

Whinlatter Forest

Welcome to England’s only true mountain forest. Whinlatter is home to stunning views, fantastic walks, exhilarating mountain biking, rare wildlife and adventure play. Set within the Lake District, Whinlatter has unrivalled views across Bassenthwaite Lake, Derwentwater and Keswick and I home to the longest purpose-built mountain bike trails in the Lake District.