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.

We have had a very successful start to this project with singing, nature photography and mindfulness; and art sessions taking place from November 2023 to March 2024.

2024 has started well with further art, singing, nature photography, tai chi and yoga sessions, and our referral numbers are increasing.

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

Nature Photography and Mindfulness (13th, 20th, 27th June and 4th July – mostly 11-1230). 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 (late mornings (11-1230) on the 29th May, 5th, 12th 19th June – and then 17th, 24th, 31st July and 7th August). Led by Art in Poundbury artists (various)

Judy Tate runs Art in Poundbury and is one of the artists leading our art sessions.

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 graphite drawing.

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 fourth set of singing sessions (19th, 26th April; 3rd and 10th May: 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. Dates for next sessions to be confirmed.

Yin Yoga led by Chrissie Haskett from the DorchesterYoga Centre. Dates for next sessions to be confirmed

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. Provisional dates are: 16th May, 27th June, 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. The April sessions have been postponed due to a bereavement.

“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.

27th April, 4th & 11th May, 25th May 2-330pm

Knitting in Nature. Join musician and wool expert Alastair Simpson for sessions knitting in nature on the Great Field. (11-1230pm April 4th, 12-230 11th, 11-1230 18th & 25th).

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 miles.king@peopleneednature.org.uk.

  • 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.