Green health: are you looking after yours?

Most of us are increasingly aware of the importance of looking after our physical and mental health, but do you know how to strengthen your green health? 

The Cairngorms National Park is the perfect place to give your green health a boost, particularly in May, which is National Walking Month. It’s also the month when the Park plays host to both Green Health Week (14-22) and the Cairngorms Nature BIG Weekend  (12-15). Both of these offer lots of opportunities and inspiration for you, and your family, to deepen your connection with the awesome nature you’re surrounded by here, and reap the many health benefits.

Sometimes people mistakenly think that to benefit from nature you have to take on an epic outdoor challenge, kitted out in high-tech gear, but this simply isn’t true. You don’t have to scale Cairngorm Mountain or bike the steep SnowRoads to get your green fix (though you can!). 

Lifting your green health levels could be as simple as sitting on your doorstep with a cup of tea listening to the birdsong. Or taking your socks off and feeling the grass on your bare feet. Or watering your plants, indoors or outdoors. 

As Louise Emslie, the new Green Health Ranger for the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), says: “What is green health? Well, it’s all about people connecting to nature and the outdoors for the health benefits it has to offer.”

Louise Emslie, the new Green Health Ranger at the CNPA

Louise’s job is to promote the benefits of ‘green health’ and give everyone, regardless of age and ability, the opportunity to connect and enjoy it.

She adds: “And what better way to do that than heading out for a walk? Our Community Paths and Trails leaflet  is the perfect tool to decide what’s best.”

Louise’s Top 3 Easy Walks in Badenoch & Strathspey:

The Lochan Trail (Aviemore):

Craigellachie is an oasis in Aviemore, with beautiful birch woodlands. The walk is ½ mile, along a surfaced path with gentle gradients and is the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon.

Craigellachie Nature Reserve

The Heron Trail, Boat of Garten

Another wonderful walk, with some fantastic opportunities for bird watching. The loop takes you to Milton Loch, along a well-constructed path and is ½ mile long. You might even see and hear some swifts flying high at this time of year.

Photo credit: James Gordon

The Strone Road, Newtonmore

For something a bit longer, this 1 ½ mile circular walk goes along a quiet, paved road and gives some of the best views in the Cairngorms.

Photo credit: Jim Barton

Learning is always more fun with others, though. Why not come along to one of the events happening in the Park this month (May 2022), which will help you understand your green health better?

‘Secrets of the Forest’ with Zeki Basan, credit Cairngorms Nature BIG Weekend

Ways to boost your green health at Cairngorms Nature BIG Weekend!

Visit to see all the events and book your place!

Cairngorms Nature BIG Weekend, 2017, photo credit Fergus Thom

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