A programme of walks, branded ‘Self-Care Stomps’, are the leading the way to emotional wellbeing at Thorncombe Wood this autumn.

Local therapist Emma Pritchard is using the Dorset County Council-owned Thorncombe Wood as the perfect location for monthly walks to encourage wellbeing and mindfulness.

As well as a stomp, the walks are inspired by a Japanese wellness trend, 'Forest Bathing', which helps people reconnect with their senses.

The Japanese government recommends the practise to help reduce modern-day 'technostress'.

Emma Pritchard said: “Self-care stompers have been able to use this woodland space to not only walk mindfully, but also to attach to their senses: sight, smell and listening.

"Forest bathing is a practice developed in Japan during the 1980s and is the cornerstone of Japanese preventative healthcare.

“Rushy Pond has proven to be a wonderful spot to carry out a 15-minute relaxation session. A combination of poems have ended our walks at Hardy’s Cottage, and we all enjoy reflections and chats over refreshments at the friendly Hardy’s Birthplace visitor centre.”

Councillor Daryl Turner, Dorset County Council’s cabinet member for the Natural and Built Environment, said: “It’s great to know that Emma is able to use our woodland for the benefit of her wellbeing clients.

Our priority outcomes are focused on a safe, healthy, independent and prosperous Dorset."

Self-Care Stomps are open to people of all abilities, including those who are less able or who have busy lives and may have limited time for themselves.

The pace of the stomp depends entirely on the individuals taking part; nobody will feel like they can’t keep up.

In particular, organisers say they are extending a warm welcome to anyone affected by a bereavement or loss; those looking to rediscover themselves, and anyone who has a caring role either within their job or family.

More walks are planned for Friday October 19 and Friday November 23 and costs £5 per session. A percentage of this fee is donated back to Thorncombe Wood for bird boxes and feed.

For more information visit www.dorchestercounsellingandwellbeing.co.uk