The Poundbury Nature for Wellbeing Project

This is the home page for the Poundbury Nature for Wellbeing Project.

The Poundbury Nature for Wellbeing Project is supported with funding from the College of Medicine and Integrated Health, Dorset Council, Dorchester Town Council, Poundbury Waitrose and through the Aviva “Save Our Wild Isles” crowdfunder. 

We are grateful for the generosity of everyone who donated to the Crowdfunder. 

The page includes descriptions of the various different activities that participants can join, the dates of those activities and explains how to book a place on those activities.

Sessions for this project commenced in November 2023 and have been continuing through 2024. We anticipate sessions will continue into September 2024, with a few more later in the Autumn.

See below, what activities are now taking place or are due to take place from July onwards.

Nature Photography and Mindfulness (27th June, 4th July, 11th July (1230-2) and 25th July (11-1230).

Led by Colin Tracy:

‘Combining photography with mindfulness meditation transforms photography into a contemplative practice – one that can bring a deeper connection to ourselves and the natural world, and at the same time bring relaxation, joy and a spaciousness of mind free from anxiety. This approach is about the journey not the goal so is free from judgement, ambition and any other pressure we might usually put on ourselves. Any camera you have will be fine, from mobile phone to SLR and no previous experience of photography is necessary.’

Colin has been a photographer most of his life, has practiced meditation for 40 years and trained as a meditation instructor 18 years ago. He also worked as a psychotherapist for 15 years. Passionate about the natural world he sees that connecting deeply with nature can help us take better care of the world.

Please note that this a course of four sessions, with each session building on the previous session. If you would like to go on this course, attendance at the first session is preferred.

Art and Nature (17th, 24th, 31st July; 7th, 14th and 21st August 11-1230). Led by Art in Poundbury artists (various)

Creating art to record the natural world is a wonderful and creative way to connect with nature. We will help you explore sketching and painting techniques to capture the beauty of the natural world all around us. If weather is not good we will bring flowers and grasses  from the field inside with us. Sessions include painting with watercolour pencils; mono-printing; ceramics using air-dried clay; collage; and drawing with graphite.

Looking after Poundbury’s Hay Meadows (sessions on monday mornings, 930-1230) Led by Miles King People Need Nature

Practical work sessions looking after Poundbury’s Hay Meadows and other places rich in nature. Come along and get some exercise while helping Poundbury’s wildlife to thrive.

Singing in Nature Hannah Marsh will run her fifth set of singing sessions. (21st, 28th June, 5th 12th July from 2-330pm)

Hannah says “Come and sing in nature! We will explore simple seasonal songs and folk tunes from around the world, based at a circle space on the Great Field. (There is an indoor option if the weather is wild). I absolutely believe that everyone has a singing voice, so don’t worry if you don’t think you can sing, all are welcome to discover the music.” 

Tai Chi Led by Tim Button from the Dorchester Yoga Centre.

Tai Chi is a practice that involves a series of slow gentle movements and physical postures, a meditative state of mind, and controlled breathing.

Next sessions run from 31st May, 7th June, 14th June and 21st June from 2-330 on the Great Field, or in the PiP cafe meeting room.

Yin Yoga led by Chrissie Haskett from the Dorchester Yoga Centre. 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th July 1030-12. Meet at the PiP at 1025.

Yoga and Tai Chi are gentle forms of exercise incorporating mindfulness. Yoga mats will be provided.

Wild Myths and Legends. We will be organising a series of seasonal days exploring stories and folklore in nature. Next dates are 26th September, 21st November. Two sessions per day: 11-1230pm and 2-330pm.

Led by storyteller Lisa Schneidau

Did you know that trees talk, ravens shapeshift, and there’s a little person behind every plant?

Listening to stories is ancient medicine. Our folktales contain magic and wisdom from the people who walked this land before we did. They also wake up our imaginations to the wonders of the natural world around us.

Join Lisa Schneidau, storyteller and author, to hear some of the old tall tales, and look at Poundbury’s nature through new eyes!

We’ll be using the natural environment around Poundbury and the Celtic wheel of the year to help us explore nature through myth and folklore, and what these stories mean to us today.

Springtime: Flower fairies, superstitions and riddles

Summer: Oak, ash and thorn: the folklore of trees

Autumn: Harvest, apples and celebration

Winter: Curses, charms and curious creatures

Poetry in Nature led by Louisa Adjoa-Parker. Next sessions in September, dates to be confirmed.

“Would you like to try writing poetry inspired by nature? Join Louisa to learn how to write simple poems exploring nature through your individual lens. This will include discussions, warm-up writing activities and sharing the work of other poets exploring the imagery nature inspires.”

Foraging with John Wright. Expert forager and author John Wright will explore the edible delights of Poundbury’s wild places.

Knitting in Nature. Join musician and wool expert Alastair Simpson for sessions knitting in nature on the Great Field.

How to take part in the activities

The activities are aimed at, but not exclusive to, people who will benefit from help with their mental health and wellbeing. For a referral, talk to your GP, your GP practice’s Social Prescribing Officer, therapist or other referrer if you are interested in taking part.

Alternatively you can fill in the referral form (below) and send it directly to Miles King at

  • The activities are free for participants and reasonable travel costs will be reimbursed.
  • For most of the activities listed, you can come to as many or as few sessions as you want.
  • We will ask you some simple questions before and after each session, so we can evaluate how the activities have benefited your mental health and wellbeing.

You can download the Referral form here. If you want to fill in the form using Word, download the form, then make a copy of it with a new file name eg PNFW referral form “insert your name”.docx