10 ways to stay connected with nature during lockdown

Never has it been clearer to the team at Painshill that open, beautiful spaces are important. They promote well-being, allow people to be mindful and offer peace in stressful modern times.

While we tried to stay open we had a number of messages of support as people showed their gratitude for having access to nature.

Even though we are now closed we still want to promote what we stand for. We would love to share with you some of our ideas about how you can look after yourselves and your health during these uncertain times.

1. Follow Painshill and other gardens on social media

We will be endeavouring to bring you images, videos and stories of Painshill while we are closed. Many gardens across the country will be doing the same. Some are live streaming calming scenes, others are running a podcast or video blog. There has never been a better time to get online. We all need beautiful things to look at… even if it is just digitally!

Monthly Historic Tour

2. Take your daily exercise outside

We are allowed to leave the house once a day for exercise. Try to use that trip to go somewhere natural. Take your online workout video into your garden, enjoy a walk in an open park (as long as it’s not too busy) or, if you are lucky enough to live in the countryside, get out for walks, runs and bike rides. Our friends at Visit Surrey might be able to help with where to walk in Surrey. Known for its big, green, open spaces, like the Surrey Hills, there are places you can go where you will not see other people. Just remember to keep it local to you and stay 2 metres away from others.

3. Get out in your garden

We have been advised to treat our gardens as an extension of our house as long as we are careful when seeing neighbours. Likewise, those with allotments can still visit them. Interest in gardening and vegetable growing is increasing as people turn to nature for comfort in these troubled times. We recommend The English Garden as a wonderful source of how to guides. Their next issue will be on how to make the most of a small space.

4. Make a difference to the natural world

Seeing as you have a little more time in your garden, why not make some small changes that will make a big difference to the environment. Climate change might have gone out of the headlines but it is still a major challenge. The National Lottery Heritage Fund, who have supported our restoration work, have some brilliant ideas on how to get started.

5. Tend house plants

House plants can brighten your rooms, purify your air and boost your mood. If you don’t have a garden or you would like to bring your garden indoors why not start a collection on your windowsill or make use of a balcony. The shops might be closed but there are places to buy them online. Take a look at the recommendations from Gardener’s World.

6. Get bird spotting

One way you might stay connected to the natural world is to start watching out for the wildlife that’s all around you. Pop some bird seed out and see how many different species come along. You don’t necessarily need a garden – there are bird seed dispensers that can stick onto a window pane or hang from the side of a balcony.

7. Get the kids involved

With the kids stuck at home nothing could be better for their mental health, in our opinions, than getting stuck into some gardening. Why not make your garden wildlife friendly? The Surrey Wildlife Trust have resources to help you build a bug house or a home for hedgehogs.

8. Take a walk through Painshill with BBC Radio Four

Did you know you can take a walk through Painshill without leaving your couch? BBC Radio Four were with us in November 2019 to take a walk and record their experience. You can listen to the programme on playback here.

9. Stream your favourite wildlife documentary

You can’t beat a bit of David Attenborough. While you have some time for TV while not re-visit some of your favourites. Personally I don’t think you can beat the opening of Blue Planet 1. Surely nothing is more awe-inspiring than a Blue Whale. Blue Planet 2 is available on i-player

10. Try your hand at wildlife photography

In your garden or on your daily exercise take your camera with you. Capturing wildlife and landscape scenes can be a great way to connect with them more. Why not see the world slightly differently by trying out a macro or a zoom lens? Share your pictures with family and friends.,, and on our social media channels! We all need to keep our spirits up. We are all in this together!

Stay safe and best wishes from the Painshill team.