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Published: 22 Jun 2021

Wild and Well: Books and publications

Reading suggestions that explore the link between wellness and the outdoors.

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If you have any other suggestions for inclusion, please get in touch with us.


Grounded: How contact with nature can improve our mental and physical wellbeing by Ruth Allen

Reflecting on nature's unknowable and mysterious qualities, Grounded explores how we can therapeutically benefit from a deeper connection with nature, finding within it balance, stillness, solitude, resilience, contentment, activity, fearlessness - and our own wild voice. Read more about it on the Slow Living Guide website.

Phosphorescence: On awe, wonder and things that sustain you when the world goes dark by Julia Baird

In this award-winning and inspiring book, Julia Baird reflects on her encounters with phosphorescence, a luminescent phenomenon found in the natural world, and how she was able to cultivate her own 'inner light' in the face of a life-threatening illness.

The Natural Health Service: How nature can mend your mind by Isabel Hardman

Following a period of severe depression and anxiety, Isabel Hardman has become one of the UK’s most prominent public voices on mental health. She credits her better health to her passion for exercise, nature and the great outdoors. Drawing on her own personal experience, interviews with mental illness sufferers and psychologists, and the latest research this book examines what role wildlife and exercise can play in helping anyone cope with mental illness.

Losing Eden: Why our minds need the wild by Lucy Jones

This book is a journey through the new research which explores how and why connecting with the living world can so drastically affect our health, and discovers new ways of understanding our increasingly dysfunctional relationship with the earth.

What Nature Does For Britain by Tony Juniper

The message of Juniper’s book is that it is only by putting a financial value on nature that politicians and businessmen will be persuaded to protect it. Tony Juniper, the former director of Friends of the Earth, knows his topic well and his book has nine insightful and scientifically accurate chapters, covering the ways nature benefits humans including: flood defence, pollination, Climate change offsetting carbon storage and well-being.

Adventure Revolution: The life-changing power of choosing challenge by Belinda Kirk

For the last 26 years, Belind Kirk has been taking others on adventurous activities, and seen it change people of all ages and abilities, and from all walks of life – seen it turn the timid into the confident, the addicted into the recovering and the lost into the intentionally wandering. Her book is billed as the first book to explain why adventure is essential to our wellbeing. 

Listening Point (and others) by Sigurd F Olson

An American writer, educator, wilderness guide, campaigner, etc. He along with a few others secured legislation and land for wilderness protection in the USA, Canada and world wide. His achievements against overwhelming odds were many and were recognised with honours and position, but he remained humble and grounded. His writings speak volumes of his philosophy, spiritual connection and passion for the outdoors. The Listening Point Foundation sustains his legacy for future generations to be inspired by the natural world. With thanks to Mick Venters for this recommendation.

Mindfulness & the Natural World by Claire Thompson

This book explores what it means to connect with nature and how we can learn from nature to be more mindful in everyday life. Through personal anecdotes and proven insights, it reveals how a deeper awareness of the natural world is key to inspiring us to care about and protect nature, and developing a more sustainable world.

Everybody Needs Beauty: In Search of the Nature Cure by Samantha Walton

This book engages seriously with the connection between nature and health, while scrutinising the harmful trends of a wellness industry that seeks to exploit our relationship with the natural world. In doing so, this book explores how the nature cure might lead us towards a more just and radical way of life: a real means of recovery, for people, society and nature.

Also by Samantha Walton: The Living World: Nan Shepherd and Environmental Thought (Bloomsbury, 2020)

The Nature Fix - why nature makes us happier, healthier and more creative by Florence Williams

For centuries, poets and philosophers extolled the benefits of a walk in the woods: Beethoven drew inspiration from rocks and trees; Wordsworth composed while tromping over the heath; Nikola Tesla conceived the electric motor while visiting a park. Intrigued by our storied renewal in the natural world, Florence Williams sets out to uncover the science behind nature’s positive effects on the brain.

The Salt Path and  The Wild Silence by Raynor Wynn

The wonderful The Wild Silence is the follow-up to the award-winning The Salt Path and recounts the story of Raynor Wynn’s partner’s terminal illness which improves, against all the odds, when they undertake a return to nature and natural living: from walking the South West Coastal path (the Salt Path), and taking on the re-wilding of a farm in Cornwall, to an extreme trek in Iceland. With thanks to Neil Spence for his recommendation


Five Ways to Wellbeing

Connect - Be Active - Take Notice - Keep Learning – Give. From the New Economics Foundation which supports the principles behind Active Ageing

MIND - Nature and mental health

Explains the mental health benefits of nature and gives tips and ideas to try. Also provides information on formal ecotherapy programmes, and where to find out more.

Thriving With Nature

The Mental Health Foundation and WWF have joined forces to produce this free guidebook which explores the relationship between nature, wellbeing and mental health.

Creative Star Learning

An online resource with hundreds of ideas and materials to help educators access outdoor ideas and materials for children

Mentally Healthy Schools

This booklet helps children reconnect with the natural environment, through 14 health and wellbeing activities and games set outdoors.

Forest sunset - photo-nic - Unsplash

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