New ‘mindfulness trail’ launched at popular East Devon nature reserve

Monday 27th November 2017

Bystock nature reserve © Dave ChamberlainBystock pools © Dave Chamberlain

An East Devon beauty-spot has become the venue for a new ‘mindfulness trail’, promising visitors the chance to get away from some of the worst stresses and strains of modern life.

The trail has been established at Devon Wildlife Trust’s Bystock Pools nature reserve, in East Devon. It’s the brainchild of local woman Clare Carter. The 46 year old from Exmouth created the mindfulness trail because she wanted to help other people to “slow down and switch off” from the demands of 21st century living.

The trail leads participants to 25 points around the varied nature reserve which features ponds, heathland, woodland and meadows. At each place people are asked to undertake an act of mindfulness ranging from the simple “take four deep breaths and stretch”’ to the more contemplative “Watch the water falling, listen to the sound of the water and watch the ripples”.

Letting go of distractions

Bystock pools taken by Simon WilliamsThe trail has been designed to be done in short or long form, ranging from 60 to 90 minutes. It urges people to slowdown, to walk at an easy pace, reminding them that “Mindfulness is about focusing on the present” and asks them to “Let go of any distractions and bring back your attention to your surroundings”.

The inspiration for the trail came to Clare as a way of combining her interests in mindfulness and wildlife. Clare said:

“I was introduced to Bystock Pools nature reserve in the late nineties and now call it my second home! My main hobby is natural history, especially dragonflies. I also enjoy yoga, mindfulness and meditation. I wanted to create a walk which included some mindfulness techniques to help people switch off from their busy lives and encourage them to live in the moment.

"I love being at Bystock and this Mindfulness walk has 'slowed' me down and allows me to switch off my busy mind! I hope it will help others too.”

One of 50 nature reserves

Bystock Pools is one of 50 nature reserves cared for by Devon Wildlife Trust. The charity’s Steve Hussey welcomed the new trail:

“People visit our wildlife havens for lots of different reasons. Some will be real nature enthusiasts, perhaps searching for a particular bird, plant or insect, but many others will be there because of the sense of peace and tranquillity that these special places provide. This new mindfulness trail is a reminder to us all of how important nature reserves are to the health and well-being of people, as well as wildlife.”

Download your free copy of the Bystock Pools mindfulness trail for free here.