Rewilding for better human wellbeing
Aching limbs after a long day's hike. Your heart racing as you stride up a hill. Walking in the company of friends in the depths of an ancient wood. Being in nature is very good for our bodies.
But our minds can heal in nature too. The scientific evidence that it's good for our mental health is robust and important. The leading mental charity Mind describes how nature can:
reduce feelings of stress and anger
help people take time out and feel more relaxed
improve confidence and self-esteem
The journalist and writer Lucy Jones researched this topic deeply for her book Losing Eden: Why Our Minds Need the Wild, and as a result, makes a passionate call for change: we are losing touch with nature and that will diminish us.
In her Twitter feed @silverpebble and her book The Wild Remedy, Emma Mitchell eloquently documents her daily battles with depression and how paying close attention to nature helps her to carry on.
Reconnecting with nature
Many people’s link with nature is threadbare, with few opportunities to connect with it in their day-to-day lives. That's why our long-term plan is to make rewilding accessible to everyone by launching a Heal site in every English county.
Our visitors will come to spend time outdoors and to learn about rewilding, wildlife and sustainable living. We will provide affordable, inclusive nature experiences that deliver an array of physical and mental wellbeing benefits.
We want people to 'come into the peace of wild things'
The phrase 'coming into the peace of wild things' is from one of our favourite poems by Wendell Berry. His beautiful words sum up what we want people to experience from coming to Heal sites in the future. We want them to be places where people can come alone or with friends and find solace and joy.
To make this possible for the most number of people, our sites have to be within reasonable distance of the cities where most people live. Access will be one of the criteria we use when we are assessing potential sites. We will also look at options for making visiting affordable for those on low incomes.
We also want to be able to give people with disabilities more opportunity to experience nature in whatever ways are feasible on the sites that we acquire.
We're making rewilding inclusive
By 2050, 70% of us will be living in urban areas. Currently, lots of rewilding is happening in the uplands where very few people live. By rewilding the lowlands, Heal is making rewilding accessible to people living in towns and cities.
We are proud of our inclusive organisational culture that embraces diversity. We are passionate about ensuring that everyone who interacts with Heal, in-person or online, feels safe, welcomed and is provided for.