Briefing – The value of nature and wellbeing work could bring to your AONB

Kristen LambertSomerset AONBs’ Nature and Wellbeing Officer  the briefing session held on day one of the conference on their Nature and Wellbeing Project.

View the video of Kristen Lambert, Somerset AONBs’ Nature and Wellbeing Officer sharing an overview of the briefing session.

The briefing gave an outline of the project and how the project leader has been working in partnership with Public Health in Somerset alongside the 3 AONB Partnerships (Quantock, Mendip and Blackdown Hills). This included an overview from year one of the project as well as a few case studies.

During the briefing, feedback sessions with the group about Nature and Welllbeing work in their AONB took place and the write up notes from the session are listed below.

Nature and Wellbeing Workshop Write Up

Download these write up notes as a Word document (.docx)

The value of nature and wellbeing work could bring to your AONB


  • Raising awareness

 Connections between landscape/nature and health

  • Making connections between landscape and health
  • Widens the different groups connected to the landscape
  • Reconnecting people with nature
  • Using AONB to help with health
  • Get health care professionals to see AONB’s it as a tool to health
  • Connecting people with the landscape
  • Demonstrates the value of the landscape

New Visitors/Volunteers

  • Would bring so many people to the AONB who would not otherwise visit and benefit from improved health and wellbeing
  • New Volunteers
  • Diversity of participants
  • More people engaged and helping to improve people’s lives

New Partnerships

  • New relationships
  • ‘Healthy People – Healthy Places’
  • Engaging local towns with their landscape

Links with National Agenda

  • Chimes with national agenda
  • Doing something that really matters to society at the moment
  • Gets people off medicine
  • Combat social isolation in rural communities

Links with/extending current work

  • Surrey Hills – started the delivery of Creative Health Walks – targeting the isolated, those with mental health needs and young people – we recognise the value of this and want to extend out pilot and make them sustainable. Physical, social creative and environmental, values. We would like to develop more partnerships such as the farmer example for that participants scan give something back.
  • Extend other projects
  • PEN Project ‘People Enjoying Nature’
  • Dementia friendly teas are strong in our area so would be able to link into these and provide positive health outcomes
  • We would love to continue and extend the work we’ve started with residential care homes and get our older people outdoors to improve their health and wellbeing
  • Higher than average aged population and older/retired people living on their own who’d benefit from this (Suffolk Coast)
  • ND Coast AONB – vale would be to use out wonder beach and coastline   – beach clean ups, healthy activities and inspiring scenery.


  • Excellent stories for promotion
  • Older farming area so people spread out and less connected – could help with this (Dedham Vale)
  • Happier people with more respect and understanding for their coast
  • Engagement with AONB for people who are otherwise often isolated from natural environments
  • Also encourages wider group of family and friends of those people who take part
  • Ability to access funds ring fenced for specific groups
  • Can reach out to wider support group of recipients
  • Great line with groups with different backgrounds, needs, skills and talents
  • Raise the profile of AO NBs – on the doorstep
  • Help to address the mental health crisis (anxiety etc.) in children and young adults

Barriers to nature and wellbeing work in your AONB

  • 7 people noted transport as a barrier
  • 11 people noted funding as a barrier
    • Some specifically suggesting that they felt it was unlikely that health care services – NHS and Public Health would fund projects like this in their area)
    • Others specifically noted that they would find it hard to find money within existing budgets.
  • 6 people noted resources/time/capacity as a barrier
  • 11 people noted not having health and wellbeing expertise within their teams as a barrier
  • 4 people noted that lack of interest from health care professionals locally as a barrier.
  • 3 people noted lack of experience/expertise in working with people with health needs. This included the following comments;
    • Pre-existing prejudice about working with people with mental health challenges e.g. they’re always ‘down’ and uncooperative’
    • Confidence in dealing with people with differing needs
    • If people are disconnected to their local landscapes they might not think about using it?
  • 3 people noted large area/low population as a barrier
    • Low populated AONB
    • Too wide spread of people in various places not currently connected by communication – no clear health partner to work with
    • Large area to work across

Other Barriers

  • Sustainability
  • Those who found that young people have never visited the AONB on their doorstep – they don’t know how to access it
  • Scope to work with GPS and Community Projects
  • Payment to farmers and other for this work
  • Measuring improvements to people’s health and wellbeing (less fluffy)
  • NHS under such pressure that they can’t take the landscape organisations up on their offers.

Other general comments

GREAT! We have an EOI in to Sport England for an Active Aging Project

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