Connecting with nature
by David Feather
I wonder how many problems get solved, as visitors to the park have the chance to think more clearly, away from the pressures of modern life. Even if we do not solve problems, there is a growing body of research that has proven without a doubt that connecting with nature can improve our mental health.
But, rather than just walk around, to connect with nature, we need to do more than just be in nature. To connect with nature we need to tune in and really notice it.
The secret is to use all your senses – hearing, sight, smell, or taste. For example, notice the natural sounds, whether it’s leaves rustling in the wind or listening to bird song. Watching nature, you could watch animals feeding or playing, admire a view or notice the finer details and intricacies of plants or insects.
The country park has many seats. But they are not just a place for people to stop and have a rest. Next time you visit, just find a vacant seat and take 15 minutes or more admire the view and listen carefully. With your phone switched off or on silent, sitting at the bench you can relax and listen to birds all around you in the surrounding woodland, there are wildflowers in the grass and if you sit observing the area, you’ll notice a staggering number of busy insects. Can you see birds? What trees can you see? Do they move and rustle in the breeze?
Just by sitting, listening and observing you could get a lot of added value from each visit. And perhaps you could write something about your experience for this website to encourage more to get the full value from Southwick Country Park Nature Reserve.
Absolutely right – my daughter and I really loved being in the park during lockdown – the birdsong was beautiful and we noticed the subtle changes all around us each time we came. It is one of my favourite places to walk.
I think there were many people who relied on their daily walk in the reserve to get them through lockdown.