A series of dementia-friendly walks will take place at Thorncombe Woods, Dorchester, this summer.
Starting on Tuesday 24 May, the walks will give people with dementia and their carers a chance to get outside, meet like-minded people, and connect with nature.
The gentle stroll through the beautiful woodland will explore the many paths, and give people an opportunity to find out about the local wildlife and heritage the nature reserve has to offer.
A trained ranger will lead the walks and there will also be a chance to collect some of nature’s products along the way to look through over a coffee back at the visitors centre.
The nature reserve, which is owned and managed by Dorset County Council, boasts 26 hectares of mixed woodland and heathland. It is also home to the Hardy’s Birthplace Visitor Centre.
Funded by the Dorset Partnership for Older People (POPP) Dementia Innovation Fund, the walks will take place every Tuesday for six weeks.
The project is a joint venture between the ‘Of the Wood’, which aims to involve marginalised communities in woodland based activities, and ‘Stepping into Nature’, helping older people and those living with dementia to connect with the landscape in a sociable and creative way.
“We want to encourage people with dementia to enjoy and feel secure in the woodland setting.
“We know that walking and exercise in general really helps improve circulation, promotes restful sleep and can enhance moods. The sessions will last about an hour and are open to all, including those living with dementia and their carers.”
The project is supported by the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, (AONB) and partners.
Julie Hammon from the AONB team, said: “The idea behind these weekly walks is to give people with dementia a chance to get out into nature and enjoy the sensory experience that being in the great outdoors brings.
“The friendly walks are an opportunity to get outdoors in a safe and supportive way, whist also retain a sense of adventure and meet new friends.”
The cost will be £1.50 per session. Walks are each Tuesday for 6 weeks starting Tuesday 24th May. Places are limited so it is important to book.
To book a place, and find out more, contact :
The Hardy's Birthplace Team
Hardy's Birthplace Visitor Centre
Higher Bockhampton, Dorchester
Telephone: 01305 251228
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Dorset County Council website