Nature and mental health

Explains the mental health benefits of nature and gives tips and ideas to try. Also provides information on formal ecotherapy programmes, and where to find out more.

Your stories

Gardening, mental health and my positive workplace experience

Gardening and the support of her workplace have helped Mary to manage her bipolar

Posted on 01/04/2016

How getting a dog saved my life.

After his mental health took a dive, Paul began researching whether a furry friend might help him get back on track.

Posted on 08/01/2018

Useful contacts

Where else could I try?

We’ve collected together some useful contacts in the following areas:

Gardening, farming and conservation

Carry on Gardening

National charity helping anyone with a disability start or continue gardening.


The Conservation Volunteers (TCV)

UK conservation projects and Green Gyms.


Grow Wild (English) (Welsh)

A national outreach initiative of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, encouraging people to engage with nature and transform spaces by planting seeds.


National Allotment Society

National organisation that upholds the rights and interests of the UK’s allotment community.

Royal Horticultural Society

National charity for gardening and plantlife.


Social Farms and Gardens

Information on care farming and community growing projects, including a network of local farms. 



Charity that runs gardening projects for people with mental health problems. Also runs the Carry on Gardening website.

Pets and wildlife

Blue Cross

Animal charity helping sick, injured and homeless pets.


Big Butterfly Count

A survey of butterflies in the UK.


Bumblebee Conservation Trust

Charity aiming to protect and raise awareness of bumblebees.

Hedgehog Street

Campaign to help protect hedgehogs.


Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)

Animal charity working to prevent cruelty and promote kindness to animals in England and Wales.


Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)

Campaigning and conservation projects to protect wildlife and restore habitats.

Places to explore


Canal and River Trust (English) (Welsh)

Looks after canals, rivers and locks in England and Wales.


Forestry Commission England

Works to protect England's woods and forests.


National Garden Scheme

Lists gardens and walks open to the public across England and Wales.


National Trust

Lists walks and open gardens, parks and estates that you can visit.


Natural Resources Wales (Cyfoeth Naturiol)

Oversees and protects natural sites in Wales.


Woodland Trust

Protects trees and forests in the UK.

Walking, rambling and adventuring

Lets Walk Cymru

Network of health-walk schemes in Wales.



Charity whose goal is to protect people’s ability to enjoy being outdoors on foot.

Walking for Health

Network of health-walk schemes in England.


Wilderness Foundation

Offers facilitated courses in wilderness therapy.



National database of volunteering opportunities locally around the UK. Lists all kinds of volunteering work, including nature-related opportunities.



National charity which offers environmental volunteering opportunities to improve local communities.

The Wildlife Trusts

Organisation made up of local membership groups which care for nature sites.

This information was published in May 2018 – to be revised in 2021. References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information see our page on permissions and licensing.


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