Space to reflect in nature

Our new partnership with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust embeds our commitment to connecting the grounds at the Hospice in Winsley to the Kennet and Avon canal path in the valley below. Here, we share the difference ways the Hospice offers a space to reflect in nature.

Connecting with nature in a sustainable and compassionate way

With compassion at our core, Dorothy House is committed to minimising the environmental impact and carbon footprint connected to our care out in the community and on our estates.

As part of a wider Dorothy House ambition to open up the gardens to anyone wishing to find a space to reflect in nature, or to find serenity in grief, this partnership offers the wider community the opportunity to benefit from being more connected with nature in a sustainable and compassionate way.

A compassionate partnership

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust is part of the UK Wildlife Trusts movement and was founded in 1962, driven by a concern to protect local wildlife and natural habitats. Today, they manage over 40 nature reserves across Wiltshire and Swindon, including wetland, woodland, meadow and chalk downland habitats.

The Trust also works with local communities through a range of nature-based educational and wellbeing activities to promote sustainable living and to increase nature connectedness and wellbeing.

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust

What is nature connectedness?

Contact with nature is not the same as connection with nature. While contact with nature is important for our general health, connection plays a much more important role in our sense of wellbeing.

In the early 2000s, researchers at the University of Derby began seeking to understand this relationship – the level of closeness, or ‘connectedness’ to nature in more detail. In the years that have followed, this concept has been developed with a view to understanding how we can improve levels of connectedness. The result of these studies was the theory of the ‘Five Pathways’: a framework to help bring about a closer relationship with nature.

1. Sensory pathway

Sensory contact with the natural world: actively engaging with nature through the senses, for example listening to birdsong, smelling wild flowers, watching the breeze in the trees, going barefoot, or tasting the fruits of nature.

2. Emotional pathway

Finding an emotional bond with, and love for, nature: this could be finding joy in wildlife at play, taking a moment to feel calm with nature, or wondering at details, like a spider’s web.

3. Beauty pathway

Taking time to appreciate the beauty of nature: this could be creating some wild art, painting the amazing colours of insects, taking a photo of a flower, or visiting a place with an amazing view.

4. Meaning pathway

Thinking about the meaning and signs of nature: honouring and celebrating the cycles and signs of nature. This could be mapping the journey of a bee, finding folktales about nature, or celebrating key moments, like the longest day or the first swallow of summer.

5. Compassion pathway

Showing compassion and care for nature: looking after nature as you would look after yourself, taking actions that are good for nature. This could be planting wildflowers, digging a pond, putting up a nest box, or supporting conservation charities.

Nature and Me: Five ways to strengthen the relationship between people and nature

Download guide here.



Firefly Woods

Dedicating a light on a Firefly is a wonderful way to celebrate the life of a loved one and reflect through a time of remembrance. The Firefly lights are your space to visit whenever you wish. Both here in the woods at Winsley House, or via our 24-hour webcam, connecting you with our serene woodland space, alight with Fireflies wherever you are.

All are welcome to visit Firefly Woods at Winsley House as a space of reflection. In order for us to maintain the privacy of our patients, please park in the bottom car park and only enter the woodland via the southern path from the middle car park. Thank you.

Discover our Fireflies


Community Groups

We offer a wide range of groups that meet during the week and at weekends, virtually and in person. Some groups are for patients, some for carers, some for family and some for all three! Our ‘Walking Through Grief‘ and ‘Allotment Group’ are two community groups which closely link grief and nature. See all community groups here.

Emotional and psychological support

Our team are here to offer patients and their loved ones the time and space to talk when they need it most. We deliver these services both at Winsley and at home with our on-call provision available to the wider Dorothy House community. Learn more about these services here.

Bereavement support

Bereavement support is one of the services our Family Support Team provides to our patients and their family members. Our team of volunteer Bereavement Support Practitioners are trained to provide one-to-one emotional support for family members, carers and friends of anyone who has died in our care. Find out more here.

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust - places to visit

For those seeking solace and reflection in their grief, The Trust also has lots of wonderful places to visit nearby to experience the healing benefits of nature, including:

You can also take a look at their upcoming events below.