‘In the woods, there will be much more fungi and even more colour: scarlet elf cup (above), orange witches’ butter, yellow stagshorn, green elf cup, blue roundheads.’ Photograph: fotoco-istock/Getty Images/iStockphoto
This recommendation from Lucy Jones is as good as any we might otherwise recommend:
‘Wet weather makes for particularly juicy moss.’ Water droplets on moss on a wall. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA
The winter world may seem gloomy – but look closely, and you’ll see nature casting a spell
For less than a tenner, do as I do: buy a hand lens, head outside and discover fungi and moulds lighting up the darkness
‘You won’t believe how exquisite slime moulds are.’ Photograph: Alastair Hotchkiss/Woodland Trust/PA
The profound therapeutic benefits of connecting with nature and spending time outside are well known. But in winter? When it’s cold, gloomy and everything looks dead? In fact, especially in the winter, when we are susceptible to fatigue, illness and seasonal low mood. And actually there is plenty of life, beauty and wonder right outside our doors, if we look closely.
Come and take a short walk with me in my nearest wild patch – an urban cemetery, a common environment across the British Isles. Continue reading →
The tree houses at Loire Valley Lodges are spread out throughout the forest and each is decorated by a different artist. Joann Pai for The New York Times
After several days of heavier fare, today’s recommended reading leans to the escapist:
Rethinking what the region’s travel should be has meant expanding the focus from fairy tale castle crawls to experiences anchored more firmly in nature, food and the arts.
The Loire Valley is a UNESCO Heritage-protected region, and drew in 9 million yearly visitors to its cultural sites before the pandemic. Joann Pai for The New York Times
On my last prepandemic trip to the Loire Valley, in 2018, I found myself in a familiar place.
Ten years after my first road trip on the region’s castle route, I was back at the 500-year-old Château de Chambord, joining a small group of European and American tourists on a guided tour. Within seconds of convening in the inner courtyard, we were craning our necks to marvel at the structure’s ornamental bell towers as our guide rattled off facts and dates about King Francis I and his former hunting lodge. When she ushered us up to the towers, chiding us for not listening, a feeling of deja-vu washed over me. Continue reading →
With forest making up around 33% of Germany’s land area, woodlands have become a central part of German culture (Credit: Westend61/Getty Images)
Thanks to the BBC for this article about the Germanic tradition of waldeinsamkeit:
Waldeinsamkeit is an archaic German term for the feeling of “forest loneliness” (Credit: Marco Bottigelli/Getty Images)
Everybody is at it in Germany. They’re doing it in the trees in the Black Forest. Out in the magical Harz Mountains. In the national parks of Bavaria when silhouetted in the moonlight. And in the city centre woodlands of Berlin and Munich. Continue reading →
“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
― John Muir
Muir has long been a muse for many on this site, as we ponder the concept of Biophilia and the power of nature in our lives. We are motivated to work on conservation initiatives for plenty of reasons, including our belief in the link between wellbeing and a fix of nature. From bonsai, bamboo fountains and the meditative sand raking in Zen gardens, the Japanese have a long cultivated the restorative forces of natural elements, so their embrace of forest bathing is no surprise…
The tonic of the wilderness was Henry David Thoreau’s classic prescription for civilization and its discontents, offered in the 1854 essay Walden: Or, Life in the Woods. Now there’s scientific evidence supporting eco-therapy. The Japanese practice of forest bathing is proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of wellbeing. Continue reading →