Over the past two years, there's been even more cause than ever to seek out new hobbies that take you outside your regular four walls and for many, that has meant walking... lots and lots of walking!
Sometimes, it can be difficult to get out and about on dark mornings before work, or on cold, drawn-out evenings - especially in the winter. But even when it's bleak outside, there is beauty to be seen and captured if you really take the time to absorb your surroundings. Try taking pictures, or sketching snippets when you get home - you will be surprised what treasures you may normally let pass you by!
But as well as visual observations, there are plenty of gems around you that you can hear, too. Last year, Forest Art Centre's Community Programme Coordinator, Jasmine Taylor, recorded this audio during one of our Wellness Walks in New Milton as part of the Sounds of the Forest project. The map aims to collect the sounds of forests, which has in turn created an extraordinary, still-evolving soundmap as it brings together aural tones and textures from the world’s woodlands.
The magic of the soundmap means even if you can't make it outside - perhaps you're isolating, or you are limited to your home for other reasons - Sounds of the Forest allows you to find a quiet spot and listen to the peaceful sounds of the woodlands, as if you are there.
It's also fascinating to hear how the animal noises and terrain of the landscapes differ within each woodland in the collection of clips that have been recorded globally.
When you're next out for a stroll, you may wish to record your own soundscape and submit it to the map. It's really easy:
- Find voice notes on your phone or voice recorder.
- Stand in one place, or walk around and let the phone record. It's doesn't need to be long, only a couple of minutes.
- Try not to speak - let the sounds of the forest do all the talking...
- Save it and upload it, or keep it for another day - perhaps it would be good to listen to it when you're feeling stressed
We received funding in 2021 from Sovereign Housing to provide FREE Wellness Walks across the New Forest. These walks are for the over 65s and are a chance for people to connect, exercise and meet new people.