Naturally Healthy May Ideas to Get Started and Connect Actively to Nature

May 2024 is Naturally Healthy month and during the month we’re encouraging you all to get naturally healthy by connecting actively to nature. There are lots of ways to connect to nature and to help you get started, here’s a range of ideas, activities, useful links and resources.

Visiting the Coastline to be Naturally Healthy

Devon has two coastlines with a huge number of opportunities to access the beautiful panoramic views. Travelling by bus is a great way to get to your destination. For example, go along the wide flat Sidmouth promenade (bus 157) or visit the beautiful sandy stretch of Saunton beach (bus 21C). To help you plan your day we recommend you look at Travel Devon’s interactive bus map. This is a great resource as it shows routes for the whole county.

A young person is being naturally healthy and connecting actively to nature by rockpooling in Devon. She is crouched down near a rockpool and is holding a small crab in her hands.

Whilst you’re wandering the coastline, we suggest you have a look along the strandline. Here is where the tide deposits all different things, from seaweeds to shells, egg cases, and even sea glass. Or, maybe have a peer into one of the rockpools to see what you can spot.

Why not take along a copy of Devon Wildlife Trust’s rock pool guide. Devon Wildlife Trust also have Rockpool Safaris taking place during April May 2024. To find out more visit the Devon wildlife Trust Events page.

Cycle, Walk or Wheel Around the Countryside

Devon is a fantastic place to explore. The Tarka Trail in North Devon and Exe Estuary Trail in East Devon (both wading bird havens) are popular and more well known. However, there are also the lesser-known trails such as the Granite Way and Drake’s Trail. Plus, there are the off-road routes at Haldon Forest Park, Tamar Trails and at Princetown. For detailed information about each trail please have a look at the Explore Devon website.

What Can You Spot from Your Backdoor?

There are opportunities in our Devon towns and cities to visit green spaces and immerse in nature. You could be going for a walk with colleagues on your lunch break or taking the family for a picnic at a nearby park. Or maybe meeting a friend and sitting at your favourite bench for a quick cup of tea. We can also connect to nature much closer to home, when spending time in the garden or going for a stroll nearby.

Whilst connecting to nature, there are many things you can spot. In May all the wildflowers are bursting open – in hedge banks, areas left to grow wild, and even in the cracks of walls and pavements. Our dawn chorus is in full song and our trees have unfurled their leaves.

If you want some help in finding out what to spot have a look at these short webinars the Devon Local Nature Partnership has created. They are beginner webinars with no scientific language, to help everyone get started or have a refresher.

We’ve also put together a selection of spotter sheets, including birds, leaves and butterflies. These are great to do with family and friends. Or for schools, you may want to use them when creating fun outdoor activities.

More Naturally Healthy Resources and Activities

In addition to the spotter sheets above, here’s a range of educational and fun resources and activities to use or take part in during May and beyond.

Connecting to Nature

Whilst you’re out and about we want you to connect to nature. Connecting to nature is all about using your senses to notice what is around you, such as hearing the dawn chorus, feeling the wind against your face, or seeing new flowers emerging from the ground. By valuing these experiences nature becomes more important to you and your feeling of belonging and wanting to conserve them. By being active in nature you are getting the benefits of being physically active and connecting to nature, a double whammy to your overall health!

Immersing in Nature with Park Yoga

One way to connect to nature and relax the body and mind is through Park Yoga. Following on from the huge success of Park Yoga in Barnstaple in 2023, and in Ilfracombe over the past three years, Park Yoga is returning to these venues and two more in North Devon in May 2024! Park Yoga is FREE and will be running every Sunday, 9.30am – 10.30am from Sunday 5th May to Sunday 15th September at the following venues:

  • Ilfracombe – In front of the Landmark Theatre
  • Barnstaple – Rock Park
  • Bideford – Victoria Park
  • South Molton – Central Park

All are welcome and there’s no need to book, just go along with a yoga mat, towel or blanket.

Sharing More Naturally Healthy Ideas

During May, we will also be sharing on social media @activedevon @DevonLNP, ideas, and information on how to be ‘naturally healthy’. From getting outside for a bike ride, to bird watching and listening to bird song, to swimming in the sea and gardening, there are many ways to enjoy the benefits it can bring.

Why not tell us about your experiences by sharing your favourite photo of being ‘naturally healthy’ via social media using the hashtag #NaturallyHealthyMay.

Being Naturally Healthy Can Make a Difference

Dr Sarah Wollaston, Chair of NHS Devon said:

“We know that being more active is really good for our health, but it isn’t always easy to get started and to find the activity that suits us best. We are so fortunate in Devon to have wonderful natural spaces across coast and countryside. So, whatever your current level of activity, it is worth joining in for Naturally Healthy May to get outside in groups together or on your own. It will make a difference.”