Here are a few reasons why walking through woodlands and forests is good for you. I’ve even  throw in some facts that you may not have known and of course, there’s a few walks amongst the trees that I can recommend. Why Walk Amongst the Trees?

Shinrin-yoku
Shinrin-yoko is the  Japanese noun, which when translated means  ‘A visit to a forest for relaxation’.  Scientific research is proving  that forest therapy  is ‘one of the most effective antidotes to our modern, technology-driven lifestyles.’ It is believed that the scents and smells of a woodland can help to reduce stress whilst seeing the changes in the seasons helps fight depression.

Forest Therapy walks focus on slowing down and engaging with nature. Spending half an hour away from a laptop and away from busy today to day life, surrounded by trees can lower blood pressure.

11,200 square miles of the UK is covered in woodland, equating  to 11.8 per cent of the total land area.  It sounds a lot, but say compared to France, of which one third is  woodland, it isn’t all that good.

More than a thousand irreplaceable ancient woods have been threatened over the last ten years. The effects are devastating: 60% of our animal and plant species have declined in the past fifty years. Many are now endangered; some face extinction. The Woodland Trust, UK’s largest woodland conservation charities, protect, campaign, plant trees, and restore ancient woodland for the benefit of wildlife and people.  Over the next ten years The Woodland Trust are aiming to plant 64 million trees. Visit their website to see how you can help  – everyone can get involved.

Forest Schools
It is never too early to teach children about the importance of trees and woodlands.  Many  parents and educationalists will have heard about Forest Schools. The ethos behind Forest Schools is  for children to develop a strong, positive relationship with their natural world.  What every the season, learning takes places in a wood or a  natural environment and aims to  for children to develop a strong, positive relationship with their natural world.  More about Forest Schools can be found on their website.

Eco Schools
Broadly linked to woodland conservation is the Eco Schools Programme. Eco-Schools is the largest sustainable schools programme in the world. The programme has  connects 19.5 million children, young people and educators worldwide.

The Eco-Schools Programme is pupil-led, involving hands-on learning that gets the whole school and the wider community involved in exciting environmental projects, such as developing an outdoor learning space, holding no paper days in school and planting woodlands.  The Outdoor Guide is pleased to be working closely with the Eco School Programme this year.  We have some very exciting plans ahead.

Cumbria’s Top 50 Trees
On a recent visit to the Tourist Information centre I came across a very lonely leaflet that was stuck at the back of the display cabinet –  Cumbria’s Top 50 Trees.

I picked up the leaflet as it looked interesting and I’m always looking for new things to do in the area. When I got home I took a bit more time to look at the leaflet. Inside, when opened up fully, there’s a map showing the location of the 50 top trees. Now I was curious.

I found out that  in 2016 there was a lottery funded project launched to discover Cumbria’s Top 50 Trees.  People were asked to nominate their favourite tree and then there was a public vote to discover the top trees.My interest was now spiked and I need to find out more.

To the internet I go! Google search … Cumbria’s 50 Top Trees

On this website there are wonderful stories behind the different nominations for to find Cumbria’s favourite tree.  There’s a great YouTube video  that explains the project. There are also a few  stories linked to some of the individual trees.   It’s worth a watch.

The Number 1 Tree
‘The Courageous Tree’ was voted number 1.

This tree, located in  a field beyond Coniston Old Hall Farm and Campsite, was nominated by Sue Bond, who  has  sadly passed away, Vertically shattered in half by a probable lightning strike, this remarkable ash tree overlooking Coniston has been in the heart of Sue Bond for at least 20 years. ‘This tree feels like an old friend and I always refer to it as The Courageous Tree’ she says. ‘It has beauty, courage and deserves love. It has suffered severe damage and trauma, yet it clings to life with amazing tenacity.’ Reading the story brought a tear to my eye. What a wonderful legacy to leave behind for your loved ones.  I hope that over the coming year to visit some of these trees, as all of them have a lovely  back story.

Five Kickass Trivia Facts About Trees

1) The tallest trees in the world are redwoods, which tower above the ground in California. These trees can easily reach heights of 300feet (91 meters).

2) The different parts of a tree grow at different times throughout the year. Typically, most of the foliage growth happens in the spring, followed by trunk growth in the summer and root growth in the autumn and winter.

3) There are tree around 100,000 species in the world.
4) There are Eucalyptus trees in Hawaii with natural rainbow-coloured barks.

5) Trees can act as a decent compass.

Top Woodland Walks
On The Outdoor Guide we have a section dedicated to Woodland Trust Walks. Take a while to have a look at what we offer.

Here are five of my favourite  wheelchair friendly woodland walks