Connecting With Nature

Time spent in the outdoors, ideally in a natural environment, is good for our physical and mental health. Evidence also shows that the benefits of being outdoors are greater if we actively connect with nature. The outdoors is always around us and getting out more is free for all. Whether you’re noticing the dandelions growing through a crack in a pavement or walking through a wood admiring the colours of the autumn leaves, you’re connecting with nature. Can something so simple be part of addressing the climate, biodiversity and mental health emergencies?

The South Pennines Park offers a truly awesome variety of natural environments, from gardens & ghylls, parks & peatbogs to woodlands & waterways, moors & mills. There are 5 identified ways of strengthening the connections between people & nature, so why not get outdoors and try some of these fab ideas, or check out this guide from the National Trust for further suggestions.

  • Senses: actively engaging with nature through the senses, for example listening to birdsong or smelling flowers.
  • Beauty: finding and appreciating beauty in the natural world and exploring it through poetry, music or art.
  • Emotion: tuning into an emotional bond with nature, or reflecting on the positive feelings nature can inspire.
  • Meaning: exploring how nature brings meaning to life, for example celebrating the signs and cycles of nature.
  • Compassion: looking after nature as you would look after yourself, taking actions that are good for nature.

Levels of nature connectedness decrease in teenage years. Can you think of a way to get your teens outside?

Outdoor Activity Ideas

There are endless fun outdoor activity ideas to try on your own or with family & friends, to benefit more from your time in nature.Some of our other favourites include the National Trust’s 50 things to do before you’re 11¾, the RSPB’s
Wild challenge
and The Wildlife Trust’s tips for Getting involved, which includes their annual 30 Days Wild challenge every June.

Forest School

For a longer-term, regular experience, ideally throughout the year, you might wish to try Forest School. Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.
(Forest School Association)

Forest Schools are run across the South Pennines Park in schools, local woodlands & other natural environments by qualified Forest School Leaders, who should also be DBS-checked & insured. Look for a Forest School in your area or contact a local network to see what’s going on e.g.
Bradford Forest Schools Network

The landscape of the South Pennines Park is a place to enjoy and explore.Engaging with nature is fun, has physical and mental health benefits and provides opportunities to learn about the world around us. There are forest school organisations across the Park that actively encourage young children and adults alike to discover the joy and benefits of exploring the outdoors.This video by forest school practitioners Get Out More explores just how important the outdoors of the South Pennines Park is.







The Countryside Code for visitors is your guide to visiting and enjoying the countryside. It includes the rules you must follow when exploring the South Pennines Park landscape.

You can obtain a copy of the Country Side Code here:

National Trails – The Pennine Way:

National Trails – The Pennine Bridleway: