A man and a woman in the outdoors watching the sunset over the ocean

National Walking Month

Cotswold Outdoor X National Trust

Tips For Embracing The Power Of Walking In Nature

Walking in nature is one easy way to give our health and well-being a boost. Whether exploring quiet forests, wandering rugged coastal paths, or strolling around your favourite local park, there's increasing evidence that spending time in nature boosts mental health.

For many, the great outdoors is our happy place. It provides us with somewhere to pause and appreciate nature — the melodies of birdsong, a gentle breeze on our face, and the sun's beams through tree tops, spark feelings like nothing else.


Together with the National Trust this National Walking Month, we share tips on tapping into the power of nature.

How Nature Can Support Our Wellbeing

Research from the mental health charity Mind demonstrates how nature can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. Their 'Nature and Mental Health Report' reveals that immersing ourselves in the outdoors can help to alleviate anxiety and depression. The report also highlights how basking in natural light, especially during winter, can elevate our mood and spirits.

A woman with blonde hair and wearing a black hoody looking down at the ground

Top Tips To Help You Look After Your Mental Health

1. Wake Up With Nature

Doing things like starting the day outside in nature can have lots of positive effects. Why not consider starting your day with a rejuvenating morning walk? Let the gentle rhythm of your steps and connection with nature boost your spirit.

Two women smiling and walking outdoors

©National Trust Images / Megan Taylor

2. Get Your Body Moving

Being active can give you a sense of achievement, boosting the chemicals in your brain that help put you in a good mood. On top, you’ll improve your fitness, contribute to a better night’s sleep and have more opportunities to meet like-minded people. Walking is a simple and low-impact starting point that you can build on and challenge yourself with.

3. Visit Somewhere New

When the world feels heavy, our first instinct may be to withdraw and isolate ourselves. However, the simple act of stepping outside into the fresh air can help.


Sometimes, a change of scenery — new sights, sounds and scents — can delight our senses and provide a much-needed escape from the thoughts spinning in our minds.


Make a conscious effort to be present and fully immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. Pause to truly appreciate the details around you, such as the vivid colours, the songbirds' melodies, and the crunch of the trail underfoot. Embracing nature opens up a whole new world of sensory wonders that can recharge your spirit and spark a sense of wonder.

A group of people walking in a local park, smiling and talking

©National Trust Images / Megan Taylor

4. Expand Your Knowledge

The outdoors is filled with opportunities to spark curiosity — whether taking on a new activity or opening your mind to the natural world around you. Ask questions, seek answers, and immerse yourself in discovering the captivating secrets of nature. 


As you expand your knowledge and your capabilities grow, confidence and self-assurance bloom. Embrace the outdoors as a vibrant classroom to learn and challenge yourself.

5. Share Experiences

Make the most of opportunities to engage with others through conversation. Not only can this brighten someone else's day, but sharing a laugh, and exchanging perspectives, may benefit your well-being, too.


At the core, we all have something positive and insightful to offer one another. From lighthearted chatter to deeper dialogues, our connections are reminders that we don’t have to face life's challenges alone.

People walking along a footpath outside

©National Trust Images / Megan Taylor

6. Revisit Your Favourite Spot

In 2017, the National Trust explored our emotional connection to our most treasured spots through research. The participants expressed three profound feelings tied to their favourite places: a comforting sense of belonging, feelings of physical and emotional sanctuary, and an undeniable, visceral pull drawing them back.

Even a simple daily walk provides opportunities to create new happy memories. Stay attuned to your surroundings — you may discover a new haven on your doorstep.

7. Practice Mindfulness When You Walk

Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment and quieting the other distractions of daily life. It's a skill that takes practice to develop, but once learned, provides lasting benefits for our mental well-being.


Mindful walking means getting out there not just for exercise, but to appreciate the natural world — absorbing details like newly emerged blooms and bird calls from above. Here are our four tips for mindful walking:


  1. 1. Choose quieter times like early morning or evening when there are likely to be fewer people around. This helps create a more peaceful experience.


  2. 2. Avoid digital distractions by turning off electronic devices, allowing you to disconnect from notifications and be fully immersed in your surroundings.


  3. 3. Engage all your senses by feeling textures, observing light, and identifying different sounds in the area.


    4. Focus on your breathing by finding a tranquil spot to take 10 deep, slow breaths. This clears your mind so you can return your awareness to the present surroundings with a sense of calm.


The essence is tuning out distractions, and cultivating sensory presence, helping you to relax and let go during your walks amidst nature.


A group of people walking together outside

©National Trust Images / Megan Taylor

8. Unlock The Power Of The Coast

In a survey of 109 walkers for the Great British Walk campaign, the majority found seaside strolls to soothe the mind and body. Nearly two-thirds said coastal walks provided an escape from daily stresses, while over half reported feeling more positive about life after time by the ocean.


Compared to inland walks, those along the coast were more likely to promote better mood and sleep. However, both coastal and inland walkers reaped benefits from spending time outdoors. The study also uncovered how walking beside the sea can rekindle nostalgic memories of childhood, loved ones, and holidays.

We’d like to thank the National Trust for providing us with some great insights into how nature benefits our mental health & well-being.


The National Trust are also delighted to work with the Mason Foundation on a two-year pilot to facilitate community walks 'Mason Miles' at National Trust places, that we’re helping to fund. We’re collaborating to build on the Trust's founding principles that nature, beauty and history are for everyone.


The Mason Foundation brings connections and skills, the National Trust provides safe and beautiful landscapes. Together we’re working to empower local communities to enjoy the benefits of the outdoors, from better health and well-being to more social interactions. We look forward to seeing more Mason Mile walks in future.


Before stepping out, make sure you have everything you need for an enjoyable time, whatever the weather. All National Trust supporters receive a 15% discount* across a range of full-price kit, in-store and online, to equip you with the right kit for your adventures. Find out more here.


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