My Favourites

My Favourites

Save your favourites with a single click and you’ll never forget a brilliant Muddy recommendation.

Back to Health

10 surprising ways to boost your wellbeing

Recently listed as of one of the UK's most beautiful sites Bedgebury Forest has a whole host of health, fitness and wellbeing opportunities. Here's our Top 10 active experiences to try that you might not have discovered yet!

Top travel guide the Lonely Planet has released its first ever list of the nation’s most ‘memorable, beautiful, surprising and compelling sights’ – and our very own Bedgebury Forest sits right there in the list of UK’s best sights and experiences not to be missed.
If you live in Kent you’ve probably come across this local gem, technically called Bedgebury National Pinetum, *sniff* if we’re being proper about it. And unless you’ve been hiding under a mossy rock you’ll know there’s been dozens of studies proving that getting outdoors, Nature Bathing, whatever you want to call it, has real, measurable benefits to both our physical and mental health.
But did you know the huge and varied amount of wonderful wellbeing activities on offer at our fave forest? Not just the odd walk or cycle – but things like a brand new Mindfulness Trail – or Woodland Workouts?
Here’s our TOP 10:

1. NEW Wellbeing Themed Trail, Be Here Now Trail

Forestry England

Just launched THIS WEEK timed to co-incide with the Autumn Equinox – this new trail has been designed to herald in the new season. It’s a mile and a half of utter gorgeousness – think nature’s own annual art exhibition.

In this crazy juggle of work/school run/life we could all benefit from taking a moment to slow down and walk amongst the trees. Become more aware of the present moment and the natural world around you – experience the sights, scents and sounds of nature. This gentle route highlights the beauty of nature with panoramic views of Bedgebury’s tree collection, Dallimore valley and lakes. And breeeeathe.


2. Yoga

Forestry England

Let the power of Mother Nature envelop you as you assume the pretzel pose. Nah, just kidding, no unnatural contortionist movements required here. Just lovely Lisa Whitehouse hosting outdoor yoga sessions at beautiful Bedgebury every Thursday 9:15 – 10:30 am.

Improve your mood and reduce stress while becoming more active, flexible and stronger. It’s a super friendly group and no experience is required – everyone is welcome. £11 per class. First class free with donation to Mental Health Resource Charity. 


3. Bedgebury Runners

Forestry England

Lots of people I know, of all running abilities and fitness levels have been waxing lyrical about the wonders of running at Bedgebury. No harsh hard surfaces underfoot or speeding cars to contend with – just miles of off-road routes for you to enjoy.

The trails provide a chance to escape stuffy gyms and get out into the fresh air, offering the opportunity to get fit where you can be inspired by stunning natural surroundings. Or challenge yourself with a 5K Saturday parkrun. The Bedgebury Runner groups are really friendly and cater for all fitness levels.

4. Real Spin

Nothing wrong with indoor spin, but you know sometimes you just want to get out and blow away the cobwebs. What about ladies real spin cycle classes? Your pert posterior will thank you for it.

No experience or special equipment is necessary and it’s a multi ability group from beginner to intermediate. This class consists of an hours morning bike ride on mostly the ‘blue’ route and occasional bits of the ‘red route, with an instructor and guide.


5. Woodland workouts

Science shows that exercise outdoors not only burns more calories, it also alleviates feelings of stress, anxiety and depression whilst releasing positive hormones and endorphins.

If you love Pilates (or fancy giving it a go) and like the idea of a woodland workout instead of a studio, then engage core and step this way. Outdoor fitness experts, Primal Roots, created a class that offers traditional Pilates with a mix of dynamic cardio. Think workouts shaped by trees, not treadmills. Takes place every Wednesday, Bedgebury Pinetum at 9.30am.

Or why not try a Primal Roots Mindful Movement session? From those looking to escape the monotony of the gym once a week, to dedicated individuals in pursuit of reaching peak fitness, these workout sessions, also run by Primal Roots provide effective training. These classes take place every Friday, at 9.30am, and the first session is free, then you pay as you go, £10 on the day:


6. Canicross

Got a dog? Like to run? Yeah, me too. I’ve been toying with the idea of trying Canicross for some time. Well Bedgebury host fun runs in collaboration with Nice Work, who organise friendly races across the forests of England.

Canicross events have become hugely popular, sell-out events – be quick to book the next 10k/5k Canicross on Saturday 16 November. Open to canicross runners of all abilities from novices to experienced athletes and there will be medals and dog treats on offer to all finishers plus prizes.


7. Sponsored walks

Nothing beats a good old fashioned walk amongst the trees. So why not make a real difference while you ramble by taking part in a Sponsored Walk, like the Starfish Malawi Sponsored Walk on Saturday 19 October. The walk is to raise money for the ‘Save Our Cedar’ project, aimed to help save the critically endangered Mulanje Cedar, Malawi’s national tree.

The event also supports a project in Malawi that, this year has seen the construction of the new adult free healthcare clinic and the first classroom for a new primary school. It’s a family walk, for all abilities, – and the perfect chance to make a difference, through the funds you raise, to the lives of the children and their communities in Malawi.


8. Meditation in the Forest Plots

This area is such a hidden gem – incredibly quiet, with benches to sit and relax, no bikes, not really any dog walkers and very rarely children (woo-hoo!) Escape to the forest for a moment, try an early morning or late afternoon visit to see the wildlife at play.

Pick a bench out in the Forest Plots, longer grasses and bountiful heather attract bees, and birds (you have the tall mature conifers as shelter). The sounds of crickets and grasshoppers join the sights of dragonflies and butterflies across the skyline right in to late October. With plots reminiscent of different corners of the world, from mini monkey puzzle forests like South America to a slice of Australasia in the bark laden forest floor of the eucalyptus trees. Perfect place to master your Om.


9. Nordic Walking

Forestry England

Don’t knock it – stats show that Nordic walking has become one of the biggest fitness trends of 2019. This specific walking style originated in Scandiavia (and they are known for their tasteful and healthy lifestyles). It was originally designed for cross-country skiers (hence those specially-designed walking poles to propel you forward).

A full-body work-out that’s easy on the joints and knees – and suitable for all ages and fitness levels. It also has the added benefit of burning 20-40% more calories than normal walking thus justifying that second doughnut, right?

Enjoy walks for all levels and abilities from workouts to wellbeing and improve your fitness on the stunning forest trails. Book now:


10. Buggy Fitness

Regain your sanity by sharing an hour with likeminded mums exercising at a pace suitable for you (dads welcome too) fresh air and a bit of me-time (well, sort of). Bring your baby buggy and join in a mix of cardio and resistance exercises with plenty of adaptions, so all levels are catered for.

The group meets every Friday at 9.15am by the lake and all little-ones welcome too obvs (from newborn babies to pre-school children in a buggy).

Find more ideas here


1 comment on “10 surprising ways to boost your wellbeing”

  • Susie Smith September 29, 2019

    And parkrun happens every Saturday… Regular exercise with a great community around you is great for your mental health!


Tell us what you think

Your email address will not be published.

* Required
* Required

Little Black Book

The Little Black Book

Our A-Z of the grooviest local businesses to help make your life easier

View the businesses
Reader Treats Just For You!