This project combined the joys and benefits of walking in nature with the opportunity to engage in arts experiences. A Cambridgeshire site of ancient woodland was visited over a period of six weeks by a small group of participants, some of whom were living with a dementia.
Over the six week period each participant created work inspired by the natural environment and art techniques as well as a nature journal-sketchbook. Each week followed the same rhythm – a walk through the woods, an arts experience, finishing with sitting down and sharing a freshly cooked lunch.
The project delivered an enormous sense of wellbeing and sense of purpose through the health benefits of walking, enjoying a more gentle and slower rhythm of pace, and essentially, the relationships and companionship forged in a small group. New skills were discovered as well as a sense of enjoying valuable and healthy ways of being – walking, conversation and creativity. Walking into Art promoted exercise, self-expression, social inclusion and wellbeing.
Walking into Art was created by Charlotte Garrard and Filipa Pereira-Stubbs, supported by Lucy Dexter and Judy Hicks and facilitated by Damian Hebron and Neil Parker.
It is the movement as well as the sights going by that seem to make things happen in the mind, and this is what makes walking ambiguous and endlessly fertile: it is both means and end, travel and destination.