There is a wealth of evidence suggesting that woodland activities have huge benefits to physical health and mental well-being.
A study conducted by the Forestry Commission established that stimulating the senses through contact with nature reduces stress. A further study conducted by the University of Essex found that spending time participating and engaging in outdoor activities is effective in enhancing mood and improving self-esteem.
Their research showed that it can significantly reduce feelings of anger, confusion, depression, tension and fatigue, whilst also making participants feel more active and energetic.
Natural environments can also introduce an element of physical and mental challenge, something that is often lost in those suffering with mental health issues.
Spending the night or several nights in a woodland environment throughout the seasons brings its own personal challenges. This has proven to be a life changing experience for many.
Examples of activities included in the programme include foraging, tracking, making fire and shelters, archery, wild cooking, natural history, woodland management, woodcrafts and wilderness living skills. All food and refreshments are included throughout the course.
Below are some examples of the benefits the WWP offers:
Woodcraft activities- Provides an increased sense of accomplishment and achievement from learning a new skill, leading to increased self esteem, resilience, self worth and confidence. Whittling provides a physical and mental challenge. It develops problem solving skills and increases focus, motivation and concentration as well creativity and adaptability.
Traditional woodland management- Educational and offers new experiences, it involves physical exercise which results in increased health benefits, builds social skills and the ability to work with others as part of a team. Builds respect for nature and each other and increases sense of belonging. Deepens understanding of our rural countryside, increasing employability in this sector.
Day to day running of camp and group cooking- Increases social skills and strengthening of social bonding. Increases co-operation and working as part of a team; leading to heightened self esteem, motivation, confidence and independence. Reduces isolation and improves relationships. Develops key life skills used in every day life, which may lead to a reduction in family breakdown, homelessness and an increase in employability.
Participants are welcome to return to the woodland to volunteer to utilise their new found woodland management skills. In November 2019, for example, volunteers from previous WWP’s returned to assist with planting 420 new trees in the woodland.
Individuals are ideally placed to progress onto qualifications accredited by the NCFE such as:
Bushcraft Level 1 Award – equivalent to NVQ Level 1
Bushcraft Level 2 Award – equivalent to NVQ Level 2
Bushcraft Level 3 Award – equivalent to NVQ Level 3
Bushcraft Leadership Award Level 4 - comparable to a Higher National Diploma
Many referrals to the programme are those who have become disengaged and lack confidence to continue as before. Participants can be referred to the programme via a charity/recovery centre/ GP or can be self-referred.
Each overnight programme can accept 6 participants. Each one day workshop accepts 10 participants.
The Programme is funded by grants and private donations and is entirely free for all participants.
If you are considering funding a Woodland Warrior Programme, please do get in touch . We can provide one day workshops or overnight stays.
Click here to reserve your place on the next WWP.