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Relax with nature at The Fold

As someone apt to over commit and then get frantic about deadlines and letting people down, there is one easy solution to become more mindful of my personal needs and refresh my priorities. I go and walk around the nature trails of The Fold. In one of a number of familiar places, I can sit down or relax against a tree and tensions inevitably fade. The natural beauty of the countryside combines with a peaceful and undemanding environment to allow any tensions to unwind. 

I improve this experience immensely through my awareness of a few things; to be mindful that some plants and some insects can bite or sting. That people in general stick to the path when walking, and therefore sitting just off the path will usually render you invisible. That to sit quietly and just observe will allow a new perspective on the world. There was a reason that our greatest spiritual teachers take their leave from human society and sit alone to contemplate under trees or rocks, or in caves in the wilderness. 

A few things you might wish to do before trying this wild meditation - turn off your phone, or better still leave it behind. Don't take a child or pet with you; their needs and thoughts almost certainly will not match yours. Make this personal ‘me’ time but forget about yourself, concentrate on the environment around you. 

To get the most from a wild experience do a little research first, most importantly on the weather and then dress accordingly. Some of my best walks have been in cold and sometimes wet winter  conditions. Footwear really matters and luckily a decent pair of wellies can be used in most environments at most times of the year. In addition a small rucksack allows you to carry a hat and gloves as well as a hot drink.  

Find a spot that suits, but only after deciding whether you are after exercise as well. The adrenaline that brisk walking produces, preferably with a target to achieve (miles, minutes or altitude), makes for a different sort of relaxation into the environment. The healthy glow that comes after exercise has stimulated body and mind is pleasing and lasts for some time. 
When ready to relax, breathe slowly and deeply for at least 10 cycles of in and out. 

Here are some personal suggestions for unwinding on the Fold’s trails: 
Collect one of the Nature Trail leaflets and discover what and where to see wonderful nature at The Fold. 

  • Walk briskly as far as the river and find a small bench to sit on. Watch silently as the natural world unfolds slowly. You might be lucky and see a kingfisher or even an otter. 
  • Walk three times around the Tank Lake and watch the fish, fishermen and geese going about their business. 
  • Take a small mat and sit quietly to see the sun set over the Tank Lake. 

The Fold, Bransford, Worcester, WR6 5JB
provides inspiration, education, therapy and practice towards healthy, sustainable, creative lifestyles 
01886 833633 | www.thefold.org.uk

Text & images by Keith Falconer