Forest Bathing August 2023


Above, Mick Gibbison offers his view of Peterborough Ramblers latest expedition into forest bathing.


Pictures by Simon Bradford and Jonathan Brigland.  Commentary: Tony Attwood

It has been known from time to time that this august website has indulged in records of walks and events which are, one might be inclined to say, somewhat on the less than completely accurate side of reality.

And of course I, your less than accurate writer do take full responsibility and indeed have served served my time accordingly and done due penance. But I find myself reluctant to indulge in such commentary over this walk, because I know that Forest Bathing is a topic that some find a little outside their normal experience, if not actually rather odd.  Rambling is after all primarily about walking rather than simply sitting in the woodland listening while observing nothing much happening.

However, being from the sort of arty background in which doing something odd is in reality day to day, err, reality… I would be horrified if anyone within the group, or indeed thinking of joining us, got the idea that Forest Bathing is something weird.

I’ve now done it three times with the group, and have really benefitted from each experience.

I must admit I had not heard of the concept before Peterborough Ramblers introduced me to it for the first time, and so I thought well, why not?  And each time now I have enjoyed it more and more.

Indeed more than that I’ve benefitted from it, and have also sneaked out on a couple of midweek afternoons when the demands of the day job were for once under control, and engaged in it on my own.

There is something extraordinary about this notion of sitting in silence in the woodland.  Certainly, for me, it is completely unlike any other type of relaxation experience I have tried (and across the years I have tried many, not least when faced with an editor who upon looking at my latest submission glances up, takes off his glasses and says, “you are not seriously suggesting we publish this are you?”

Life can be stressful at times, and people can occasionally be difficult, and I have found my visits with the Ramblers to this woodland for a walk and a lie down under the trees, incredibly beneficial.

Personally, I have benefitted enormously from being part of Peterborough Ramblers, through the explorations of the countryside, the friendships and the fun, but I would very much wish to add

forest bathing to that little list.  I am deeply indebted to Peterborough Ramblers for having the willingness and openness to embrace this activity and give me, and I hope many other members, the chance to try something new and different within our local countryside.

It is, as you will see from all these pictures, an exquisite part of the region we live in, and of course can be fully appreciated by walking through it.

But that chance to pause and just contemplate what is around is something different, and without these walks, I would not have found it.

If you are reading this and have not tried this walk before then I would urge you to give it a go next time it is offered

even if it does seem a little different from that which we normally undertake.

I suspect you might be rather surprised, in a most positive way, as I was.

The forest is there for all of us, and I feel I have benefitted enormously by being able to find a way to take it in, without at the same time walking and chatting (which those who know me will have realised, I also rather enjoy.)



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