Partner Projects / sharing learning and best practice

There are LOADS of Naturally Healthy initiatives taking place across Devon – see our activities page which is in development.  In order to share learning we have also listed a few projects below which have explored / are exploring how to improve Naturally Healthy opportunities for specific locations / audiences.  Please let us know if we can add your project / learning to this list (email

In order that health and community partners are aware of Naturally Healthy initiatives we are encouraging partners to list their projects / activities on the Active Devon Activity Finder. This is a great way to promote your organisation and your activities and it is completely free. Find out more on the Active Devon Naturally Healthy May webpage. Please remember to include ‘Naturally Healthy’ and other relevant key words like environment, wildlife and outdoors to your description to enable the key word search to find them, and please link your activities to the Naturally Healthy campaign.


Connecting Actively with Nature –  Led by Active Devon, our Naturally Healthy Working Group has been awarded £500,000 of National Lottery funding from Sport England.  The five year Connecting Actively to Nature (CAN)  programme aims to involve over 3000 older people in Devon and Torbay connect actively to nature.  Further information is available on the Active Devon website.

Dartmoor National Park‘Naturally Healthy’ project – A project aiming to get people active in Dartmoor National Park’s natural environment by promoting and providing opportunities to walk, swim, cycle and more.  Read the project final report and, if you are interested in setting up something similar, see the project toolkit.  For more information, email

Exmoor National Park‘Moor to Enjoy’ project – This project worked to connect local groups with the natural environment of Exmoor National Park, to ultimately increase the health and wellbeing of their members. Read the project final report and if you are interested in setting up something similar, see the project toolkit. For more information, email 

Exmoor National Park‘FUN’ Project – Exmoor National Park are now developing a new health and wellbeing programme to build on the ‘Moor to Enjoy’ Project which was completed in August 2018.  The Exmoor FUN Project (Families United through Nature) focuses on engaging with vulnerable families and young people to encourage access to natural green space with the aim of enhancing physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing.

Naturally Healthy Devon Schools project in North and East Devon. The project (now finished) extended the work of Natural Connections, investigating the benefits of learning in natural environments.

The WAVE Project brings people together through surfing. Their evidence-based surf therapy programme is proven to help young people feel less anxious and more positive. They run beach school projects to help children feel more engaged in education.

  • Surf therapy: the long-term impact (2018) – An independent evaluation of the impact of The Wave Project on vulnerable young people 2013-2017
  • The Wave Project (2015) – An independent evaluation of The Wave Project’s impact on vulnerable young people over 3 Years from 2013-2015

Walking for Health schemes in Devon There are over 115 opportunities for people to join a health walk in Devon, and this important network helps over 3,000 people to get active and stay active.

Aquafolium is a Devon based social enterprise which aims to reconnect people with nature through activities such as Forest Bathing and foraging and has been monitoring benefits for projects they have run for carers.  The venture is one of many innovations supported by Transform Ageing. The programme is funded by Big Lottery and run in partnership with UnLtd, the Design Council, the South West Academic Health Science Network and the Centre for Ageing Better. It aims to revolutionise the approach to health, wellbeing and social care for people in later life.

Forest Chi organises events, classes and workshops across Devon.  They create a space where people of all ages and from all walks of life can learn ways of connecting with nature.  They are working alongside Jules Pretty of Essex University in researching the effects of Forest Chi.

Jules Pretty, University of Essex, 2016
We coined the phrase dose of nature to articulate that exposure to green exercise is analogous to a medical dose to the body, improving mental and physical health.’
‘We have shown that deliberate therapeutic use of natural environments has short and long term positive effects on groups under mental stress (including at risk children and youth…mental health patients)’
‘Immersive attention…is a part of movement based activities such as Tai Chi…