Green and blue spaces can give a real boost to our mental health and wellbeing. Amazingly, one study found that just 30 minutes spent in green outdoor spaces are associated with a 7% reduction in the prevalence of depression in the population1.

At South West Lakes, we know how important the lakes are to local residents and visitors. We are constantly working to ensure the lakes are places that everyone can enjoy, relax and benefit from. Whether you’d like to learn some new skills at our Activity Centres, have a go at fishing, follow our cycle and foot paths or simply spend time with family and friends, your lakes are here for you when you need them.

Four mental health benefits to spending time outside:

Time to recharge:

In the fast-paced modern world, it’s more important than ever to take some time to recharge away from our screens. Why not spend some time in the bird hides and see what species you can spot? We have put together some free wildlife spotter sheets so that the whole family can get involved. Making time for nature in your day – whether it be 10 minutes or a few hours - can really make a difference to your mood.

Social interaction:

Walks are a great opportunity to have a catch up with a friend or family member, so why not invite them along and grab a tea or coffee along the route! We also host events for all ages throughout the year so make sure to check back to our ‘Whats On’ page.

If you’re looking for something more regular, why not visit our volunteering page and find out how you can get active, meet new people and give back to nature!

Physical activity:

From a gentle stroll with your dog to cycling, running or water sports, all forms of physical activity have positive impacts on your wellbeing and mental health. These benefits are amplified when combined with nature and you will get a beautiful view at the same time! It can sometimes be intimidating trying something new, but with our ‘have a go’ sessions you will be taught by our friendly instructors so they are the perfect way to learn a new skill such as archery, climbing or water sports. If running is more your style, Park Run happens every Saturday at Tamar Lakes, click here to visit their Facebook Page and find out more.

Boost your wellbeing:

Exposure to trees and green spaces can support your mental health and well-being by increasing positive emotions such as calmness, joy and creativity2. You can reap the benefits by simply being outside, but if you’re keen to go one step further, you could try forest bathing!3 Take some quiet time in nature using all five senses to be present and mindful. Forestry England have written a simple guide to get started.

We hope you enjoy visiting our lakes - we love to see you enjoying your visits. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @swlakes and use the hashtag #ItsYourOutdoors.

For non-urgent information about mental health support and services visit the Mind website, email [email protected] or call their infoline on 0300 123 3393.

Samaritans are available 24 hours a day for confidential emotional support. Call 116 123 (free to call from within the UK and Ireland) or email [email protected].


  1. Shanahan, D., Bush, R., Gaston, K. et al.Health Benefits from Nature Experiences Depend on Dose. Sci Rep 6, 28551 (2016).
  2. Mental Health Foundation, Nature: How connecting with nature benefits our mental health.
  3. Park, B.J., Tsunetsugu, Y., Kasetani, T. et al.The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing): evidence from field experiments in 24 forests across Japan. Environ Health Prev Med 15, 18 (2010).