Person looking across a snowy Dartmoor

A wellness break in Devon

What is wellness?

The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.

The aim is to adopt attitudes and lifestyles that prevent disease, improve health, and enhance your quality of life and sense of well-being. Wellness is proactive, preventive and driven by self-responsibility. It’s an active process of being aware and making choices that lead toward an outcome of optimal holistic health and well-being.

Wellness includes at least 6 dimensions

  • Physical: Nourishing a healthy body through exercise, nutrition, sleep, etc.
  • Mental: Engaging the world through learning, problem-solving, creativity, etc.
  • Emotional: Being aware of, accepting and expressing our feelings, and understanding the feelings of others.
  • Spiritual: Searching for meaning and a higher purpose in human existence.
  • Social: Connecting and engaging with others and our communities in meaningful ways.
  • Environmental: Fostering positive interrelationships between planetary health and human actions, choices and well-being.

Sourced from the Global Wellness Institute

Wellness and our emotional, mental as well as physical health has probably never been so much at the forefront of our society’s attention as they are today, post-pandemic. It feels like more people than ever have realised the potentially powerful, positive impact of undertaking some activities that they may not have ever considered before.

Rest and renewal at Roadford

There are so many things in this part of Devon, right on the doorstep of the Roadford Lake Lodges park, that can truly boost mood and well-being. For a start, you will find peace and quiet in the Park itself. We actively discourage Roadford Lake Lodges Park as a stag, hen or party venue, our lodges attract families and friends looking for the tranquillity that our lodges offer, whilst immersing themselves in the surrounding nature and unspoilt countryside. Our guests often comment on how peaceful it is, the sleep that they get and the time they have to “stop and stare”.

Forest bathing in blue bell wood at Roadford lake

Forest bathing at Roadford

Roadford Lake and its surrounding forest are just through the gate and along a wooded path, open for sunrises and sunsets and all the hours in between. Forest bathing is a process of relaxation; known in Japan as shinrin yoku. The simple method of being calm and quiet amongst the trees, observing nature around you whilst breathing deeply to help de-stress and boost health and wellbeing in a natural way. New studies show that such activity can reduce blood pressure, lower cortisol levels and improve concentration and memory. A chemical released by trees and plants, called phytoncides, is found to boost the immune system.

Man standing on Dartmoor Tor with arms outstretched

Experience the healing power of Dartmoor’s wilderness

Boost your mood and feeling of wellness by walking on Dartmoor, whatever the weather, visiting stunning sites such as Lydford Gorge, having a good pub lunch with family or friends at one of our wonderful local pubs preferably with a roaring fire, a delicious breakfast at the Roadford Lake café (no washing up required!), a cycle in the fresh air, and sunsets and sunrises over the lake to name just a few. That sort of treat can really boost morale, especially in the first part of the year when the weather can be gloomy and wet, the days short. We may have post-Christmas debt, and unachieved New Year’s resolutions and the brightness of spring can still feel a long way away and this year, perhaps more than any other in recent memory, the news is really concerning.

We are great believers that even a short walk on or visit to Dartmoor where you can stretch your legs, (and your eyes!) is truly therapeutic. It is a place of such great beauty, in all seasons and all weather. Its space and sounds – the wind, running water, the skylarks and other resident birds – are really uplifting

Wellness activities within easy reach of our lodges

We thought we would also highlight a few organisations, within easy reach of the lodges, which embrace and focus on the healing power of physical exercise, nature and our natural surroundings. We have picked three of our favourites, all very different but all inspiring!

Guided Dartmoor tour by Dartmoor's Daughter pointing to a standing stone

‘Dartmoor’s Daughter’

An organisation that arranges walks and “immersive, nature-connection experiences” to improve physical health and emotional well-being, and importantly to inspire greater respect and care for our natural world. The small team works with respected experts to offer guided walks and a range of inspiring activities for adults, families, and children including Navigation Training; Nature Trails; Farming; Letterboxing; Art; Dowsing; Wild Foods; Wild Swimming; Mindfulness; Animal Tracking; Astronomy; Folklore; History & Archaeology; Sacred Sites; and more! They can also offer private guided walks, facilitated outdoor activities, or team days for groups, team-building or simply for celebrations. All wonderful for physical and emotional health and well-being. Highly recommended.

Dartmoor’s Daughter

Lydford Gorge Alpacas being led on a Dartmoor walk

Lydford Gorge Alpacas

Another unusual and wonderful organisation nearby which focuses on well-being and connecting to nature is Lydford Gorge Alpacas based right opposite the stunning Whitelady waterfall at the National Trust’s Lydford Gorge. Lydford Gorge Alpacas was set up by Helen who should be proud of how much she has achieved since starting the organisation during the pandemic. She is already a Finalist in the Visit Devon Tourism Awards for 22/23 and gaining a wonderful reputation! Her ‘Alpaca boys’ – Batman, Joker, Bubbles, Barney, Penfold, Macca, Mr Sharps, Jasper, Clifton, Ocado, Tucker and Mr T – are all huge characters, highly individual and very friendly. You can book a close-up encounter, a picnic or a trek with the alpacas among other ‘experiences’ – we think it’s a wonderful treat for yourself or for someone you care about, especially if in need of a little spirit-lifting! Spending time and connecting with these gentle, curious and affectionate animals will certainly raise spirits and help restore well-being. Helen says “Prepare to have your hearts well and truly stolen!”

Lydford Gorge Alpacas

Sara smiling in an ice bath

Breathways

And finally a little gem, ‘Breathways’ is an organisation run by Sara Dance a Level 2 Wim Hof Method instructor who takes groups up on to Dartmoor to train in the Wim Hof method and breathing techniques – something that has gained much recent attention. Using a combination of breathwork, cold water exposure and commitment Sara aims to help “restore what the modern world takes away”. She says “The modern world and the way we live in it often leaves us stressed, anxious and with a nervous system that is running on high alert. The Wim Hof Method offers an opportunity to reset the balance. Clearing your mind, resetting your body and balancing your nervous systems.” It is all about embracing nature, pushing our boundaries and overcoming difficulty. Highly recommended.

Breathways

Find a workshop

Come and stay and Roadford

Devon Lake Lodges, open all year round, is the perfect place to relax and unwind in the tranquillity of Roadford Lake, central to so much across Devon and Cornwall. We look forward to welcoming you to our little piece of heaven!

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