Everywhere we turn there seems to be someone telling us that we need to “be more connected to nature.” But what does that really mean? Here, at Woodland Classroom, we believe that the journey to stronger nature connection begins with 5 principles; slowing down, taking notice of the wild things, reading the landscape, giving back to the Earthand sharing our joy of nature with others. Join us around the campfire amoungst the beautiful woods and parkland of the National Trust’s Chirk Castle estate in North Wales for relaxing days of doing all these things in nature, surrounding yourself with like-minds.
Whether this course is the beginning or continuation of your journey to a stronger connection with nature it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in a whole day of activites aimed at fostering your deeper understanding of and empathy for the natural world. You will be guided by tutors each with their own specialities and experience in their field. The aim of this course is to explore self, discover nature and build community. You will take away a range of practical techniques which you can use in your everyday life to build your connection with nature and improve your health and wellbeing.
“Whatever we do, we must spend as much time as we can outside, engaging in nature, appreciating the wonder of the natural world around us. This will help us to stay grounded and keep us connected to the life force that sustains and nourishes us.” Glennie Kindred, author or Letting in the Wild Edges.
Activities will include:
- Outdoor meditations and sit spot practise
- Listen to and interpreting bird language
- Start your own Nature Journal
- Discover wild edibles growing around us that can nourish our bodies
- Grounding techniques & fox walking
- Deeper exploration of the 7 principles of mindfulness
- A permaculture approach to your health & wellbeing
- Giving thanks together
- Sharing food in the fire circle
- Identify native trees and plants
- Open up our senses to the natural world
- Celebrate Beltain, the celtic festival of creation and abundance
- Sow your own seeds
Tickets are £55 per adult. This course is open to adults only. Refreshments will be available throughout the day at our basecamp.
“Are you feeling despondent, anxious, even depressed about the state of the planet? Every day there seems to be another bad news story featuring deforestation, environmental damage, rising screen time or climate change. It can feel overwhelming leaving you not knowing what action to take. We believe the only way out of this mess is to raise our consciousness, join with others who will raise their awareness and together be the best version of our own selves and be a light to others. Ghandi said, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ The healing of the planet starts with a personal journey, so let’s rewild your life.” Lea Kendall, Lead Tutor
What We Can Learn from Nature
As we take a journey along the wild path we can let nature be the mirror to our souls. We can nurture ourselves by drawing inspiration and lessons from nature, recognising established ecosystems such as woodlands which demonstrate resilience, diversity, and longevity as well as cooperative relationships. Through spending time in and studying nature we can learn to establish these same qualities and to continue to grow as human beings. Nature creates ideal conditions to thrive and by observing this, we can apply natural principles to our own lives. We can also draw from the 3 core permaculture principles of earth care, people care and fair share to aid this connection to support our individual growth and resilience.
As we learn about nature and learn to trust her in knowing what is best, we learn to trust in our own instincts and can move forward in life from a place of confidence and faith.
“Modern life can create great confusion and we can forget that humanity is an integral component in the natural world… when you enter one of the world’s great forests, you go in one side and you come out somewhere different. Sometimes, you go in and come out and you’re different.” Ray Mears
About the Tutors
Lea Kendall is a qualified Counsellor and Life Coach. Lea is also a qualified Mindfulness in the Woods practitioner. As an Integrative Counsellor Lea takes the view that there is no single approach that can treat each client in all situations. She takes a holistic view of each individual, taking into account their emotional and mental well-being as well as their physical health.
“I am a firm believer in the power of nature to be therapeutic for everyone. My training as an Counsellor worked toward my long-term goal to incorporate nature therapy into my services. I am passionate about finding ways to increase the self-esteem of people and encouraging motivation through positive experience, shared enthusiasm and a nurturing environment.”
Lea is also the Co-Founder and Activity Leader at Woodland Classroom, which reconnects children and adults with nature through positive activity and creative play.
Roger Saxby– Currently works as a Physiotherapist having qualified in 2003. He has fifteen years of clinical experience having worked within the NHS and private practice as well as further experience in a military based rehabilitation unit and elite level sport. He has over 3 years clinical experience working within specialist multidisciplinary teams in both the community and residential based pain management services in Shropshire. In this specific role as a senior physiotherapist he worked alongside Psychologists & Occupational Therapists delivering a range of self management strategies through education to support individuals suffering from the associated physical and psychological effects of living with chronic pain. These services applied the psychological approaches of CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy), Mindfulness and ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy).
In addition, Roger is accredited to teach Breathworks Mindfulness for Health & Mindfulness for Stress courses and is also a qualified Mindfulness in the Woods practioner. He first developed an interest in mindfulness and meditation following personal injury involving multiple operations in his twenties an thirties and continues to use this approach as part of his personal commitment to his own health and wellbeing.
“Growing up on a farm has instilled a love of nature and the great outdoors and its therapeutic effects and having gained a permaculture design certificate in 2011 this background has helped combine my passions of holistic human health, the natural world, community living and sustainable earth management. This is further influencing my current personal interests as well as professional development choices of connecting with nature for health and well-being benefits.”
Roger is currently attending the foundation year training with the Natural Academy in Bristol to become a nature based facilitator and has recently attended a six week course Think Like a Tree which helps to apply the principles of permaculture to human health and well-being by observing and interacting with nature and what it can teach us as humans in making informed life choices.
About the Venue
Chirk Castle has over 480 acres of estate parkland for you to explore, with wild ponies, sheep, veteran trees, and a beautifully preserved section of Offa’s Dyke. The estate is located within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has also been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest as an important habitat for rare invertebrates, bats, fungi, and wild flowers.
Chirk Castle is 7 miles south of Wrexham, easily accessible off the A5, close to the tourist destination of Llangollen.
The award-winning gardens at Chirk cover 5.5 acres of manicured lawns, clipped yews, herbaceous borders, beautiful rose, shrub and rock gardens, and the wooded pleasure ground – perfect for a stroll, with stunning views over the Cheshire and Salop plains.
You can find out more about everything the venue has to offer by visiting their website.
Tickets are £55 per adult.
Get in touch if you have any questions. Phone Lea, 07920 408 849 or email her. Advance booking is essential. Tickets are available via THIS LINK which will take you to the Events page on our Woodland Classroom website. Here you can find out upcoming dates for this course.
This course is intended for adults aged 18 years or over, however young people aged 16-18 can attend if accompanied by a paying adult.
YOU CAN READ OUR EVENT TERMS & CONDITIONS HERE.
Why Do We Need to Reconnet with Nature?
In evolutionary terms our brains are very much still in the hunter-gatherer mode and have not yet caught up with the way we live in modern society. In the not-too-distant past we lived by hunting and foraging, living among forest plants & animals, spending time building our own shelters, living in close knit communities, using fire as a tool and using tools hand-made from resources that we found in nature. Today many of us live in a highly stressful environment, disconnected from the natural world, surrounded by outside stimulus and media, following routines that are extremely fast-paced. This gives the older (animal-instinct) parts of our brains the illusion that we are constantly in danger, meaning high levels of cortisol in our bodies that remain for longer than needed. This not a healthy way to live.
Environmental psychologists have insisted that the physical and psychological problems of modern society are associated with a disconnection between human beings and their natural environment.
Humans are ‘hard-wired’ through evolution to hold an emotional and psychological attachment to nature. Placing people apart from nature disrupts our connection with the wild and can lead to negative impacts on wellbeing.
Lea has produced this short video in which she teaches you how to use well known woodland animals as a starting point to opening up your senses to the natural world.