Forest Bathing at Charlotte's WoodA chance to relax and connect to the woodland
Forest Bathing, also known as ‘Shinrin-yoku’, is a great way of improving your well-being through slowing down, relaxing and connecting with nature. This form of nature therapy was developed in Japan as a result of research that showed that two hours of mindful exploration in a forest setting could reduce blood pressure, lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and improve memory and concentration. Each two hour guided Forest Bathing session will allow participants time to slow down and relax, connecting through their senses to the woodland environment and the changing seasons. The cost of each session is £20 per person.
At Charlotte’s Wood each new season is welcomed with an opportunity to bathe in the forest
Each Forest Bathing journey will follow the optimal flow sequence which will include connecting with the woodland environment through your senses and walking slowly and mindfully. You will be offered invitations to experience the woodland in different ways; sometimes alone and sometimes with others. We will finish with a tea ceremony. The focus will be on slowing down, taking notice, enjoying calm and relaxation.
Imbolc Forest Bathe
Sunday 30th January 2022
Beltane Forest Bathe
Sunday 8th May 2022
Lughnasadh Forest Bathe
Sunday 31st July 2022
Samhain Forest Bathe
Sunday 23rd October 2022
Imbolc is the time of year when life underground is just starting to stir after the cold and dark of winter. The Celtic festival of Imbolc is halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox. Under the blanket of soft leaves on the forest floor, shoots are starting to burst forth. In the trees, sap is beginning to rise, preparing to swell buds ready to open in springtime. Hazel trees are laden with drooping yellow catkins and tiny pink starlike flowers and elder leaves begin to burst from their buds. Clouds of lacy white blackthorn blossom shiver in the chill winds. The woodland is beginning to come to life. Take time to be in nature and find the stillness within yourself. Listen to your dreams.
Beltane means ‘Bright Fire’ in Old Irish and takes place exactly halfway between spring equinox and summer solstice. The woodland is bathed in the fresh green light of the trees’ new leaves. Sunshine streams through the canopy and the crowns of the great oak trees drink in the light and breathe out clean fresh air. The woodland is full of life, growing strong and vibrant. Birdsong fills the air and the tendrils of brambles reach towards the light. Bluebell flowers dangle from their stalks forming bursts of colour within the carpet of bright green grass. The hawthorn, tree of May, is laden with bright white blossom and our spirits soar as we celebrate the life and fertility of the forest.
Lughnasadh is a late summer festival, occuring halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox. It is like the mid-afternoon of a day, a quiet time to play, rest or wander through the forest. The leaves of the trees are a rich, dark green and provide a welcome shade from the sun. Seeds are ripe and ready to harvest and berries in the hedgerows are growing round and fat. Juicy blackberries appear in sunny glades and butterflies flit from flower to flower. In the woodland it is still and quiet. Trees are pouring their energy into ripening hazelnuts, acorns and chestnuts. Buzzards circle and shriek high above the canopy and in shady spots deer may be found resting at peace.
Samhain comes from the Gaelic word meaning ‘summer’s end’. It is halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. In the woodland the last of the autumn leaves are falling. The growing season has ended. The trees breathe out shedding their leaves and seeds to be buried in the earth under leafy blankets of autumn colour. Mushrooms appear overnight; their underground webs connecting the roots of the trees. Bright berries shine in the hedgerows and summer birds have flown. The woodland settles down and prepares for the cold of winter. Hedgehogs and dormice snuggle deep in their cosy homes, beginning their long winter sleep.
Words adapted from those within ‘The Children’s Forest’ by Dawn Casey, Anna Richardson and Helen d’Ascoli.