Information session on exploring the New Forest for people impacted by illness

New Forest pony wearing reflective collar

Published Wednesday 8 July 2015

An information session to help people impacted by illness, bereavement and disabilities to enjoy the countryside will be held in the New Forest.

Research has shown that spending time in nature can help improve people’s health and wellbeing. Exploring the inspiring landscapes of the National Park could help people alleviate stress, recover from illness, improve physical fitness or overcome mental health problems.

The New Forest National Park Authority will hold a free session from 10am to 11.30am on 16 July at The Coates Centre, within the grounds of the Oakhaven Hospice in Lymington.  

Led by a National Park Ranger, the session will help people find the most accessible places for the New Forest’s history and wildlife, provide information on sites with accessible toilets and how to explore the Forest without a car. 

This session has been developed especially for those living with illness including dementia, cancer, multiple sclerosis, or people impacted by disabilities or bereavement.

Jim Mitchell, Interpretation Officer at the National Park Authority, said: ‘The National Park is a patchwork of majestic woodlands, heathlands, a beautiful coastline and historic villages. However if you’re living with an illness or disability parts of the Forest may not seem as easy to reach. This session will help highlight the most accessible areas for people with different needs.’

Pauline Sandford-Smith, Community Engagement Facilitator at The Coates Centre, said: ‘Spending time in nature can be very good for people’s physical and mental health. The National Park Rangers have a wealth of local knowledge, so this will be a wonderful opportunity for people of varied ability to find out more about the best places for them in the Forest. The session is open to anyone living with illness, disability, bereavement as well as their carers.’

Booking is advised as there are limited spaces. To book call Pauline Sandford-Smith on 01590 677198 or email


About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect.
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.
We also have a duty to:
  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit to find out more.

Media Contacts:
Sion Donovan, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646639

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