Published: 06:00, 29 September 2020
| Updated: 09:11, 05 October 2020
It’s time to leave your phone behind, and take some time to enjoy nature.
Hever Castle is encouraging visitors to try the Japanese art of forest bathing, and boost their well-being as part of their initiative to communicate the health benefits of absorbing the colours in nature this autumn.
Developed in Japan in the 1980s, forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku is simply spending time outdoors under the canopy of trees to improve health and wellbeing. In Japanese, “shinrin” means forest and “yoku” means bath, so ‘forest bathing’ is the art of immersing oneself in the forest and soaking up the atmosphere through the senses.
Research has shown that forest bathing can help calm the sympathetic nervous system and reduce stress hormones, thereby boosting the immune system.
The castle’s autumn trail has been designed to provide the perfect conditions for a spot of shinrin yoku. The trail encourages visitors to crunch through the fallen leaves and acorns as they pass under the oak trees on Anne Boleyn’s Walk, look up at the evergreen Scots Pines, red pin oaks (Quercus palustris) and delicate buttery yellows of the larch trees (Larix) on Lake Walk.
The aim of bathing is to leave technical distractions behind you and be fully present in the woodland environment - so make sure your phone is off or away.
Try not to plan your route - just walk freely. Stop and smell the autumnal aromas and pause when you feel like it.
Also, enjoy the silence - and relax.
The autumn trail is self-guided. Find out more at hevercastle.co.uk