Actively sharing knowledge about woodland wellbeing

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Two seminar days aimed at health professionals, organisations and individuals with an interest in linking health care with the natural environment are being held in Aberystwyth and Treherbert on the 16th and 23rd March respectively.

The seminar days will explore theory and practice of the health benefits of green exercise, building on the knowledge and experience gained by both participants and leaders in the Actif Woods Wales project. There will be the opportunity to get out in the woods and have a go at some activities from green gym to woodworking.

The Actif Woods Wales project has so far focused on establishing locally run woodland health activities in and around Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, and Treherbert in Rhondda Cynon Taf, and has been funded by Forestry Commission Wales (FCW) and the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW).

The free sessions are specially tailored for people with a variety of chronic health conditions such as depression, osteoarthritis, diabetes and heart problems.  The project is supported by a range of health sector organisations including the National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS) and MIND.

Activities include Nordic walking, green woodworking skills, bushcraft skills, plant and animal identification, fire-lighting and simply walking in and enjoying the woodlands, and are attended by people with a variety of physical and mental health conditions ranging from arthritis to depression.

Zena Wilmot of the Coed Lleol Partnership, which is running the sessions, said: "We all know that exercise is good for us, but going to the gym to get fit isn't for everyone.

"This project has shown that walking or being active in woodlands really can improve health and reduce stress at the same time as building interests, developing skills and having lots of fun.

“These days will be an opportunity to share experience, explore the science behind the theory and for people to network between the sectors."

The Aberystwyth day will be held on Friday 16th March from 10.00- 4.30, at the Morlan Centre and Penglais Woods. The Treherbert day will be held on Friday 23rd March from 09.30- 15.00, at the Penyrenglyn Project office and Cwm Saerbren woods.

Both events are free, with lunch and refreshments provided.

For more details, or to book a place, please contact Jo or Zena:, 01654 700061.


A total of 14.3 per cent of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Government. Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.

Coed Lleol is a partnership project hosted by the Smallwoods Association with a steering group of representatives from Forestry Commission Wales, Countryside Council for Wales, the Woodland Trust, the Wildlife Trusts, Tir Coed, the Health Service in Wales and representatives of community woodland groups and self employed foresters. The partnership’s overall aim is to help more people enjoy and care for woodlands in Wales. For more information visit

The National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS) supports Actif Woods Wales. NERS is funded by the Welsh Government and has been developed over the past three years to standardise exercise referral opportunities across all local authorities and local health boards in Wales. The scheme targets clients who have a chronic disease or are at risk of developing chronic disease.