Try these feel-good outdoor activities in Yorkshire for 2022
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Hike, plunge, dip, paddle - dive into our round-up of feel-good activities to make the most of outdoor Yorkshire this year
Stand up paddleboarding
Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) has a long history originating in Africa but was developed in Hawaii into what we know today. As a low impact exercise that works your entire body, SUP has become incredibly popular as an effective cardio workout. Head out with Alfresco Adventures to picturesque locations around North Yorkshire and choose between a taster session, SUP yoga or a river adventure.
If the thought of heading out on a hike by yourself is a little daunting, then why not join a guided group instead? Hardy and Hirst Adventures use their extensive experience to create bespoke hikes for groups all over the Yorkshire Dales, providing a custom-made map, goodie bag, and baked goodies along the way.
Forest bathing is all about emerging yourself within a wooded environment by being fully present and mindful of your surroundings. Think of it this way, have you ever walked through a forest and noticed how calm you feel? That’s because trees naturally give off ‘wood essential oils’ which when inhaled have a beneficial impact on our nervous system. You can try this out for yourself or join a guided Forest Bathing session such as the ones held at Swinton Bivouac near Masham.
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Open Water Swimming
There’s nothing like taking a plunge into ice-cold water to make you feel alive! Boasting a huge range of health benefits, open water swimming or ‘wild swimming’ as it’s more commonly known, has risen in popularity over the last couple of years. It can play a massive part in our wellbeing by improving sleep quality, increasing fitness, and boosting feelings of happiness. If it’s your first time venturing out into open waters then it’s a good idea to do it with someone experienced. Take a look at The Outdoor Swimming Society for guidance and a list of local groups in your area.
You don’t have to run a marathon to get those endorphins going. Whether you’re aiming for a PB or just want to plod along, then a Parkrun is for you. Held at various locations throughout Yorkshire, these free, weekly, events feature a 5km course that you can complete in your own time and at your own pace. Held every Saturday morning, these events are a great way of meeting new people in a welcoming, community setting. Whether you walk, jog, run, or even just spectate or volunteer, you’ll find the positive and supportive atmosphere such a buzz that you’ll want to keep coming back for more. Some of our favourite locations where these are held include Fountains Abbey, Nostell Priory, Cusworth Hall and Castle Howard.
An Alpaca Experience
Hear us out with this one. Studies show that being around animals can have a big impact on our health and wellbeing. Stroking an animal for a few minutes can significantly lower a person’s blood pressure, and even just being near them can decrease feelings of stress and anxiety. So we can’t think of anything better than spending a Sunday morning on Yolk Farm in Boroughbridge with these comical creatures. Not only will you get to be around them, but you will learn how to greet them, feel their super soft fur, and even rub noses with them. It’s an uplifting experience that’s guaranteed to leave a smile on your face.
Peace and pamper
Sometimes the hustle and bustle of everyday life can get a little too much and you just need to hit the pause button. We’re all for taking a bit of time out to recharge our batteries and there’s no better way than with a bit of a pamper. The Secret Spa located at The Devonshire Arms Hotel and Spa near Skipton is a secluded sanctuary of bell tents overlooking the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales. Sip champagne while drinking in the scenic views outside of your private bell tent or hideaway inside by the cosy log burner.
The Wave Project is a wonderful charity that offers vital surf therapy to vulnerable young people throughout the UK. In Spring 2022 a new venue will open in Scarborough's historic Aquarium Top site, offering adaptive surf sessions to young people living with barriers - whether that be impairment, disabilities or mental health challenges. It's been shown that young people participating in the surf therapy courses come away feeling more confident, enabling them to make new friends and think independently.
Art with Heart
With a mission to reconnect humankind with nature, The Oak Project has launched its first artist commission, Silence – Alone in a World of Wounds, hosted at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, by artists Heather Peak and Ivan Morison. This open-air structure is made entirely of natural materials and acts as a quiet space within nature. Here, the artists ask that speech is not permitted in order to create an area of calm contemplation. The aim is to invite visitors to instead stop and connect by listening to the natural world. With a mission to bring meaning, beauty and purpose into everyday life.
Have you ever looked up into the night’s sky, at all of those tiny, twinkling stars, and realised how insignificant your everyday worries are? Sometimes we just need to get out of our heads and focus on our senses. With sight limited, the activity helps to focus your brain, making you feel calmer and less troubled as you concentrate on the feeling of what’s around you. Heading out on a night walk can be exhilarating, opening up a whole new both in front of you and inside of you. The sense of awe at the vast universe helps provide perspective and increases feelings of positivity. If you’re not ready to brave the dark alone, then Adventures for the Soul host regular dark sky experiences where you can join a guided group walk led by a professional instructor.