30th June 2021

Spending time in the South West, at the top of the Blackdown Hills, during the pandemic has given me the opportunity to spend more time outdoors and enjoy the beautiful countryside. The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week was ‘nature’, and spending time outside really does help to lift my mood and put a spring in my step.

Getting out and about for walks during lockdown I discovered lots of local businesses nestled in the local community - from an off-grid nature retreat to an alpaca trekking centre (who knew they were so cute and cuddly!).

I decided to try a local basket weaving day – all outside and socially distanced. It was really interesting to learn about how the willow withies are grown, traditional methods for harvesting, and how they are treated to make them suitable for weaving. We learnt lots of different techniques that are used in making a ‘simple’ basket. The day was great fun and I now have a whole new level of appreciation for the skill and time that goes into producing beautifully hand-crafted products, as well as a basket – crafted by my own (slightly sore at the end of the day) hands.

If you get the opportunity to support your local community and try some crafting, then I can thoroughly recommend it.