Connecting with nature is something that has helped so many of us over the past year, so it’s apt that it is the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week. But bearing in mind that not everyone can leave their home to experience the great outdoors, we’ve put together a short selection of podcasts and Instagram accounts that can bring nature to you.
An old favourite from BBC Sounds, where you can discover the birdsong and calls of hundreds of birds, and listen to stories of people who love them.
Actor, artist and Woodland Trust ambassador David Oakes (appropriately named) offers a real mix in this podcast series of stories of community projects, art, campaigns, and learning about the native species of the British Isles. The mini episodes focussing on the latter are a fun, irreverent way to learn about trees (willows are ‘highly immoral’ and ‘sex-obsessed’, apparently!).
David also has a brilliant Instagram (@doakesdoakes), featuring his beautiful photos of trees, plants and animals.
This husband and wife farming team give a real insight into nature-friendly farming in Cumbria, and although their feeds are mainly cute lambs and calves, they don’t shy away from the hardships of farming in the 21st century. James has also published two excellent books, The Shepherd’s Life and English Pastoral.
Farming with Nature – @hilltopfarmgirl
Down the road from Cumbria is Hilltop Farm in Malham, Yorkshire, another fascinating look into the work around nature-friendly farming. If you like Belted Galloway cattle (we certainly do!), then this is for you. Not sure we want them sticking their head in the kitchen window though.
Patrick Lawrie – @galloway_farm
Another farmer-writer, Patrick Lawrie published Native: Life in a Vanishing Landscape in 2020. His photos taken on his farm in south-west Scotland feature everything from the teddy bear-like Riggit cattle he breeds, to beautiful owls caught in flight.