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Hug a tree – it's good for you

Posted in HEALTH + WELLBEING By Maggie O' Sullivan

Research in Japan has shown that ‘forest bathing’ – or simply walking in a wooded area – is good for us, lowering our heart rate and making us feel content and calm. A survey by Canopy & Stars last summer appears to back that finding up. 

Enlisting the help of Dr Miles Richardson, an expert on the psychological effects of the outdoors, Canopy & Stars asked over 2,000 people what it was about their holidays that made them happy. 92 per cent of respondents said they were happiest in the countryside, surrounded by trees – more than 70 per cent also said they would hug a tree if there were proven benefits.

Dr Richardson believes there are. ‘We all want to spend more time in nature and feeling connected to nature can have a profound effect on our happiness and well-being,’ he says in the report. ‘Being around trees rebalances our emotions, brings contentment and calm and can even improve our health, the health of our communities and our lives in general.’ Canopy & Stars has a whole collection of tree-hugging retreats, including this new treehouse in Dorset called The Woodsman’s Treehouse. It has been built by cabinet maker and master craftsman Guy Mallinson, who runs a luxury ‘glampsite’ in a wood not far from Lyme Regis. The camp also offers green woodwork courses, aimed both at beginners and the more experienced (Guy used to run courses in Fulham and I am very proud of the backgammon board I once made in one of his evening classes).Canopy & Stars describes The Woodsman’s Treehouse as a ‘stylish combination of sustainable wood craftsmanship and luxurious interiors with a playful touch. Highlights include your own sauna and hot tub on the upper spa deck, a revolving woodburner, an open air tree-shower on a huge second deck and a stainless steel slide.’ Guy adds that the treehouse is ‘all about being amongst the trees and up in the branches, enjoying and admiring them while not damaging them in any way. It incorporates a great deal of wood craftsmanship throughout, along with a variety of additional materials that are either found or made in the woods’. All that and a proper indoor flushing loo.The Woodsman's Tree House cost from £390 per night (sleeps two). Read more about the Canopy & Stars Hug a Tree campaign


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