ONLY three spaces are left for a forest school's new project promoting good mental health.

The Bright Woods Forest School has been granted £4,940, to deliver a free Woodland Wellbeing project, which aims to promote mental health and wellbeing in adults.

The project will be delivered between April and October, at Deepdale Nature Reserve, in Startforth, near Barnard Castle.

It has been funded by the Northern Heartlands Community Initiative Fund, managed by the County Durham Community Foundation.

The project will offer opportunities to spend time in nature and a chance to take part in a range of creative workshops such as foraging, natural casting, whittling and mindfulness walks.

The project is aimed at anyone aged 18 or over, living within the Northern Heartlands funded area, who is struggling with mild, moderate or severe mental health problems such as anxiety, depression or low self-esteem. You can self-refer or seek a referral from a local GP.

Organisers are asking participants to commit to 15 of the Tuesday sessions.

Participants also need to be willing to take part in research aiming to establish the effect of spending time in nature on individuals’ wellbeing.

All results will be published anonymously and personal details will be handled sensitively.

The project will be led by experienced outdoor practitioners and the research is to be conducted by mental health professional Alex McClean, in conjunction with Durham University.

Ms McClean, a counsellor and eco therapist, said: “There is an increasing body of research providing evidence that engaging with nature and spending time in natural environments is beneficial for our mood and in reducing mental health symptoms.

“Bright Woods are already doing very important and inspiring work with the projects they are currently running and The Woodland Wellbeing Project will be a fantastic opportunity for a wider audience to have a chance to benefit from being guided with expertise and knowledge, to engage and foster a deeper relationship with the natural environment, with an aim to cultivate and enhance wellbeing.”

Please get in touch if you are either a potential participant or a local GP who would be willing to signpost participants to the project.

The Northern Heartlands area includes all communities in the AAP areas of Teesdale, Weardale, Crook, Willington, Tow Low, Bishop Auckland & Shildon.

The first session will run on April 30.

For more information call Gemma and Honia on 07399-575253 or email or alternatively email