I am very fortunate to have grown up in the countryside of the South West UK. It is something that has helped to mould me as a person, giving me an appreciation for the outdoors and the wildlife that resides within.
The importance of taking time out and escaping at the weekends is very important, with new research showing that spending time in nature can positively affect the human body and mind. With that information, there’s no better time to get outside and start getting one with nature.
The health benefits of getting outdoors
Apart from the perhaps more obvious health benefits that exercise has on the body, being out in nature has some interesting mental health benefits too.
- Getting outside in nature can help improve productivity and cognitive abilities
- Experiencing nature regularly can help to improve complex memory tasks
- Exposure to natural environments can be associated with lower stress levels
- Spending time in nature can help with the symptoms of anxiety and depression
- It can also help improve cognition of children with attention deficit disorder
Thankfully, our home town of Bristol is surrounded by some of the best and most pristine natural places in the UK, so getting outside into beautiful natural places is easy. Here are a couple of my favourite local spots you can get a little closer to nature.
1. Ashton Court Estate
Red Deer at Ashton Court. Photo from Getty Images
If you don’t have much time to travel far outside Bristol then Ashton Court Estate is a great place close to the city to get you outside and surrounded by trees. Just two miles outside the center, Ashton Court boasts 850 acres of woodland and meadows to explore, enormous Sequoia trees to admire as well as multiple breeds of deer to spot.
2. Black Rock / Long Wood, Cheddar
Black Rock woodland in spring. Photo from Flickr
If you want to stretch your legs and get properly into the countryside then the Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Cheddar Complex Nature Reserve is a great place to get your boots dirty. A picturesque woodland walk that is filled with a host of wildlife. Especially nice in the spring when the Bluebells fill the forest floor.
3. Snuff Mills, Fishponds, Bristol
Autumn colours at Snuff Mills in Fishponds. Photo from Flickr
Snuff Mills in Fishponds is a hidden gem. Great for a short walk all year round, snuff mills offers a quiet retreat along the Frome Valley walkway. If you’re lucky you might spot kingfishers, herons, foxes, owls, bats or even deer.
4. Blagdon Lake, Blagdon
Fishing on the Blagdon lake. Photo from Flickr
Blagdon is a lovely, quaint village in the heart of Somerset. The lake is a lovely natural feature in the middle of the valley. It has an easy walking path all the way around so you can appreciate the views at your leisure.
Bristol is surrounded by great outdoor spaces. As a team we love to explore them and escape the city once in a while. With the now proven benefits to mind and body for getting out into nature, it is just another excuse to go out more.
Get some more inspiration for getting outdoors in some more adventurous locations around the world from Another Escape. The Bristol based magazine and website has a host of great stories from around the globe to ignite your inner explorer.
Where are your favourite spots to escape the city and get closer to nature? Let us know on Twitter @mountainandco