Wellbeing, Space and Society. Volume 5(December 2023). 100160

Mae'r cynnwys hwn ar gael yn Saesneg yn unig.

The health and wellbeing benefits of engagement with the natural environment are well documented, but a lack of prospective research means that the sustainability of effects is unknown. Nature-based interventions (NBIs) seek to extend benefits to a wide, socially inclusive range of people. The primary aim of this study was to develop an improved understanding of one such initiative on personal wellbeing over time.

The study involved adults recruited from Actif Woods Wales, a pan-Wales woodland activity programme. A questionnaire using validated measures assessed participants at baseline (n = 120), end of course (n = 74) and three months later (n = 57), in terms of mental wellbeing, social trust, self-reported health, self-efficacy, self-esteem and physical activity. A parallel qualitative study sought in-depth appreciation of processes of change with five end of course and four follow up focus groups.

Significant positive increases were demonstrated in all psychosocial measures by end of course. These gains held at the follow up stage providing critical evidence of maintained change. Thematic analysis of the qualitative data revealed positive shifts in self-perspective that were reflected in wider lifestyle changes. Participant narratives showed how social processes and nature played an important role in supporting the wellbeing benefits experienced.

This mixed methods study addressed identified gaps for research that furthers understanding of how NBIs can support health and wellbeing longer term. Findings point to a need for sustainable funding and support for NBI projects to embed the role that they can play in delivering therapeutic and preventative outcomes.