Farms and nature reserves across the country are offering free visits to give people a real taste of the countryside.
Let Nature Feed Your Senses is a new initiative giving people the chance to get closer to nature as research supports the idea that there are emotional as well as physical benefits to visiting the countryside.
The network has been launched by charities LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) and the Sensory Network of farms and nature reserves.
They hope that visitors to the countryside will be able to relax and find peace and inspiration, thereby improving their overall sense of wellbeing.
It also recognises that many people find it difficult to get onto farms because of age, disability or social circumstances, and is hoping to change all that.
All the participating sites have been access reviewed and are set up to give a sensory-rich experience, with a range of activities for groups normally deprived of the opportunity to get close to nature and better understand it’s connections with our food.
Following a visit in June to Woodland Farm, Retford, Linda Howard, from Cherry Holt Care Home, said, “We have had such a good time, it wasn’t at all what our residents expected but so much more! We all learnt such a lot, especially about the environment and the senses.”
At many locations, visitors will be encouraged to 'get stuck in' with the farm tasks.
One group leader on a visit to a farm near Broughton Grounds Farm near Banbury saw a big change in her students.
“I can see from their faces, from their body language, that this has really meant an awful lot," said Carole Wise from Aylesbury College.
“I would never have said that they would get as close as they’ve got to some of the animals, particularly in handling the sheep. The group are inspired!”
The project team is now inviting other groups to get out into the countryside.
To find out how you can arrange a free sensory rich visit to a farm or nature reserve near you, please visit www.letnaturefeedyoursenses.org and search under ‘find a farm’
Improve your wellbeing - with a farm visit!
Published 15 July 2011