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.
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.
Nature and grief
When discussing the importance of a space to reflect in nature, nature has long been considered important for people’s mental health. For example, 73% of UK adults surveyed in the Mental Health Foundation’s YouGov poll said that connecting with nature was important in terms of managing their mental health during the pandemic.
Benefits of connectedness in nature
For those who are grieving, connectedness in nature can offer many benefits and aid healing, such as:
- It can remind us of the continuum of life and that we and our loved one are still part of something greater than ourselves that goes on existing without us.
- It provides a place and space to attend to our grief without intrusion from the ongoing demands of work, family and everyday responsibilities.
- The sights and sounds of nature can offer distraction from a cycle of difficult thoughts.
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.
The Rotary Club of Chippenham, Calne and Corsham
The Rotary Club of Chippenham, Calne and Corsham is also committed to changing lives in communities which they support.
A further partnership between Dorothy House, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and The Rotary Club on future projects offers the opportunity to combine in-depth knowledge of the power of nature with additional services such as open access support to benefit people and nature across Wiltshire.
Dorothy House and nature
As part of our organisation-wide commitment to sustainability, the partnership with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust is an exciting next step. By working together and implementing the five pathways strategy to promote connectedness to nature, we hope our beautiful grounds at Dorothy House will provide welcome solace to anyone experiencing grief and bereavement.
With our recently enlarged Firefly Woods, sweeping lawn, stunning views across the Wiltshire countryside and access to the canal, we believe our new partnership with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust will build on our work to provide our community with the connectedness to nature and compassion so needed in such a busy world.
We will work closely with the Trust to not only improve connectivity to the wider natural landscape, but also improve the biodiversity on our grounds, such as the creation of a beautiful wildflower meadow, which will attract pollinators such as butterflies and bees.
Perhaps our Firefly Woods is your special space to reflect in nature?
You can learn more about how we are working towards becoming a greener Hospice below.
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:
- Cloatley Meadows, Malmesbury
- Green Lane Woods, Trowbridge
- Peppercombe Wood, Devizes
- Roundway Orchard, Devizes
- Smallbrook Meadows, Warminster
You can also take a look at their upcoming events below.