“The need of quiet, the need of air, the need of exercise, and the sight of sky and of things growing, seem human needs common to all” – Octavia Hill , Co-founder of the National Trust
Feeling sluggish, stressed or anxious? Been slumped over a computer all week, or feeling overwhelmed by your hectic urban lifestyle? Perhaps you’ve tried getting an extra hour of sleep or drinking more water, but have you ever tried upping your nature intake? ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’, or ‘NDD’ for short, has become something of an epidemic in modern society. The term is used to describe our increasing disconnection from nature, and was coined by American writer Richard Louv, who even spoke about the disorder at the National Trust headquarters in 2010.
It’s not only adults, with our computer-centric jobs and smartphones, who are affected by ‘NDD’. In fact, our younger members of society could be in the most need of ‘Vitamin Nature’. The National Trust’s ‘Natural Childhood Report’ found that one in three children could not identify a magpie! More seriously, one in ten children aged between five and 16 have a clinically diagnosed mental health disorder and if current trends continue, by 2050 more than half of all adults will be obese.
The best remedy for ‘NDD’ is very simple; immerse yourself in a natural setting. The Japanese use the lovely term ‘forest bathing’ to mean taking in the atmosphere of the forest or woods, in order to improve health. Here at Quarry Bank, we have several self-guided walks that weave through more than 400 acres of our beautiful woodlands. It doesn’t stop there, as exciting plans are underway to improve our woodlands even further. We’ve just finished installing an accessible path from the garden into the woods, so that all our visitors are able to enjoy nature. We’ll also be restoring historic footpaths and bridges, there are new opportunities to volunteer with the rangers in bringing these plans to fruition. Helping a good cause while getting your dose of nature, what a sure-fire formula for a mood boost!
We’re continuing to tackle Nature Deficit Disorder in kids through ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ . You can pick up a 50 Things booklet at reception, and get the whole family to try them out with you.
So, for reduced stress, better fitness and improved happiness, lace up your boots and get yourself down to Quarry Bank! In the meantime, you can also follow this blog to keep updated, not just with our woodland improvements, but with all developments in our Quarry Bank Project.
What are your favourite ways to tackle ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’? Is walking in the woods your favourite activity; perhaps you prefer a leisurely lounge in the garden or a seaside stroll? Let us know in the comments below!
If you are interested in helping the rangers, pop over to: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/quarry-bank/features/the-styal-estate-near-quarry-bank