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Nature Natter

Nature Natter Walks in Bakewell Park– 1st Thursday of every month at 11am

Driving into Bakewell for the Nature Natter training I was met by sunshine and a warm welcome. Organised and led by Jo Hanney, Communities and Wellbeing Ranger for the Peak District National Park, our session was well attended. The vast range of volunteers, rangers and walk leaders bought with them a scope of local knowledge as broad as it was varied, from the importance of peat bogs to how to spot a ruby tailed wasp.  As they say, every day’s a learning day!

University of Derby research has evidenced that time in nature is good for us.  As our virtual world grows along with our appetite for technology, our connection with flora and fauna fades. Nature Natter walks are about reversing this process and reconnecting with nature. Our session opened with mindfulness, a spot of meditation and ‘coming to our senses’. The benefits of connecting with nature are numerous; it can help to improve mood, memory and concentration whilst reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

After an informative session followed by tea and a slice of exceptional rhubarb cake we togged up and headed for the park. The earlier sunshine had been replaced with a brisk wind and threatening rain. Hoods up, undeterred we set off to stroke gnarled tree bark, lichen and feel the texture of springy moss. The more we slowed down, the more Spring’s colours popped out.  Naked trees stood in contrast against the cloudy sky. We matched our colour stones to petals and leaves listening to contented quacks and loamy scent we watched the river swirl away.  Absorbed in the moment; we marveled at nature’s vast colour palette that we’re normally too busy or too preoccupied to see.

Nature Natter Walks in Hall Leys Park- 3rd Thursday of every month at 11am

I joined Helen Milton for the first Matlock Nature Natter walk at Hall Leys Park, central to the town, close to the bus stops and a range of car parks. There are good paths with toilets and cafes close by so everyone can participate. I was blown away by the bravery of one of our party. Recovering from illness, she had come alone, which must have taken some courage! Helen provided a great welcome and after a spot of Health and Safety admin we were away, starting our session with a daisy counting challenge.  Soon we were all talking, and spontaneous spotting wildflowers.  The colour stones offered a great way to connect with each other and nature. The observant and artistic were animated. There was no clock watching, no marching, just a chance to slow down, to notice and reconnect with our natural world.    Gentle, low level inclusive social activity. A great way to spend a Thursday morning.

Written by Caron Fellows, Walk Derbyshire Workforce Lead