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Walking for Mental Wellness

From the rise of the 'Silly Little Walk' in meme culture to the Tik Tok patented 'Hot Girl Walk', walking has become something of an internet trend in this era of endless social media scrolling and post-lockdown isolation. Many are sharing their experiences online as they head out - reluctantly or not - to reap the mental health benefits of fresh air and gentle exercise.

Of course, the idea of going for a walk to feel better is nothing new or revolutionary. Walking has long been considered a great way to stay active, raise your heart-rate, clear brain fog, calm your central nervous system and get a refreshing change of scenery. The low-impact exercise gives your mind room to wander, come up with fresh perspectives, and feel better equipped to face the day.

Mental health charity Mind suggest that immersing yourself in nature could have a positive impact on mental health issues including anxiety depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

May is Living Street's National Walking Month, and this year they are encouraging us to #Try20 by walking for 20 minutes each day. While these short bursts of activity are enough to significantly improve mood and fitness over time, Somerset has no shortage of walking routes for longer expeditions.

Mells is a beautiful Somerset village renowned for its lovely scenery and walking trails. For those looking to disappear into nature for slightly longer, we recommend the Mells River Walk; an easy riverside stroll with opportunities to pause and take in the natural beauty, culture, and history of the area.

Starting from Mells, the path follows the river east through the Wadbury Valley. Here you will find the Old Iron Works, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Not only is the ruined iron works fascinating due to its history producing agricultural tools – it is also worth a visit as you may spot a horseshoe bat! The site, which is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, is also used a breeding ground for this species of bat.

Continuing towards Great Elm, you pass another significant listed building: The Church of St Mary Magdalene, which dates back to the 12th century. Further east through the Vallis Vale, yet another site of Special Scientific Interest, you can wander through ancient woodland, passing Bedlam, Hapsford and Spring Gardens before nearing the end of the trail.

As you reach the point where the River Mell joins with the River Frome, you can head deeper into the hills at Shepton Market. Alternatively, you can loop back around to Mells via the East Mendip Way. From here, we suggest rounding off your walk with a visit to the Walled Garden - a tranquil space with an emphasis on improving mental health through our plant nursery and various therapeutic programmes.

Pause in our outdoor café, a delightful spot where you can unwind, be it on the sun-soaked rose terrace or under the shade of the apple trees. Amidst our beautiful flowers, treat yourself to a wood-fired pizza and a decadent slice of cake – all while supporting local suppliers.

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