Enjoy the wellbeing benefits of nature for little or no cost
As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we want to share some suggestions of how you can get connected with nature for less.
Certainly over the last 18 months we have learnt a great deal about the benefits nature brings to our physical and mental wellbeing and we also know about the close relationship between money and mental health so in this blog we are connecting these things together.
As the days get lighter for longer, the weather warms up and travel restrictions begin to lift, you can enjoy getting back to nature on your own or with friends by having a fun day trip or outdoor adventure.
Sussex has so much to offer, the South Downs are stunning and the beach is so accessible that we don’t need to travel far to find peaceful spots which cleanse the mind body and soul.
Explore your local parks and gardens – some of the larger ones like Stanmer have walking routes which you can download for free and are really easy to get to either on foot, train or bus. At this time of year, one of the most beautiful sights and smells are those found in a wood full of bluebells and Stanmer has bluebells aplenty.
If you want to get the heartbeat going, many parks now have outdoor gyms which are free to use.
You may have been enjoying seeing more birds since lockdown and if you want to identify our winged friends, you can download phone apps which recognise their call, but the better ones are not free. Or if you can take a picture, you can check with the RSPB afterwards.
There are also guided Health walks across Sussex which local councils promote, provided by organisations such as The Conservation Volunteers ‘TCV’ . This is an excellent way to discover new places and meet new people. Although these group events have been temporarily suspended, you can sign up to their mailing list and get some ideas on places to explore.
As well as a more traditional promenade to Brighton, Eastbourne offers dramatic clifftop walks at Beachy Head and Birling Gap and just along the coast road you’ll find Cuckmere Haven and Friston Forest – all can be reached by bus, some open-top. Hampden Park is also worth a visit with its large lake and wooded areas as well as lots of recreational activities.
Sussex walks and cycle trails are another good find for those wanting some inspiration on different local gems and Brighton and Hove buses have an interactive map of routes so you can easily find out which bus you need, including the coastal services to Eastbourne.
Since 2012 the UK has embraced cycling with a passion, it’s almost become a national sport. Perhaps the Sussex roads aren’t quite Tour de France terrain just yet, but there are some safe routes you can enjoy a cycle on, and of course the seafront goes on and on and on…… You can hire the Brighton bikes or Eastbourne bikeshare scheme or there are plenty of places where you can buy cheap second hand bikes, but do make sure you get your bike regularly serviced and you stay safe and be seen on the roads after dark. Have a look at Sustrans for some routes and safety tips.
Whether it’s a gently stroll along the promenade, a cycle on the undercliff, paddle in the sea, photography in the woods or an ultramarathon across the Downs, we guarantee you’ll feel rejuvenated with some fresh air.
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