Celebrating the Spring Equinox at Hazel Hill

Charley Miller tells us what it was like to celebrate the beginning of Spring in her role as Conservation & Education Coordinator…

The Spring Equinox marks the turn of the seasons and this year fell on Wednesday the 20th of March. It was warm and sunny at Hazel Hill Wood which set the tone for a fantastic day working with people in the magical, 70 acre woodland.

We started with a 2 hour session for adult carers who came to us through Three Chequers Medical Practice in Salisbury. We went for a peaceful walk, taking in the pond and woodland rides, followed by tea and cake around a campfire and an optional practical conservation task. We ended with a short relaxation practice, focusing on nature and the senses – tuning into the sound of birdsong, the smell of fresh green leaves, the feel of the fresh air on our skin and the sight of the trees. There were lots of comments about “getting away from it all” and how peaceful it was. We are expanding on the work we already do with young carers, providing opportunities for adults too to benefit from our unique set up. We are piloting “Green Prescriptions” – taking part in outdoor, nature-based activitiesto benefit people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. More info on nature and wellbeinghere.

Key Volunteers and conservation – in the afternoon, I met with one of the Key Volunteers who helps with wildlife surveying projects including our search for the elusive dormouse and the ongoing monitoring using a trail camera. This is an example of how we provide opportunities to use and develop people’s skills, and facilitate them to contribute in a meaningful way to the charity. We are on the look out for more people who are interested in utilising their unique skills and interests with us at Hazel Hill, so please get in touch if you have an idea of how you could support the work of the charity.

To round off the day, we welcomed 22 Brownies from the local village of Winterslow. We taught them how to light and build fires safely which forms part of their Adventure-Camp badge. Of course no fire in the woods would be complete without some marshmallows to toast – great fun! The visit was part of our Branching Out programme, which supports local groups and organisations to access Hazel Hill Wood and the benefits of nature, wild spaces and the inherent wellbeing it can promote. The group had a great time, experiencing the magic of the wood at night whilst learning a new skill.

Some of the feedback from Winterslow Brownies.