Tinder Sticks will resume its Walk in the Woods programme this month. Here, lead instructor Alison O’Connor explains why she is keen for people to connect with Wanstead Park and Wanstead Flats

Why not join one of our Walk in the Woods events to help you explore Epping Forest deeper and connect further with nature through healthy activities and bushcraft workshops? Our monthly events will take place in Wanstead Park and on Wanstead Flats and Leyton Flats (Hollow Ponds) on Tuesdays. 

May’s events include making washing detergent from ivy, an exploratory walk linking Wanstead Flats and the park and campfire cooking with spring edible plants. Working in harmony with the City of London’s no-foraging policy, we will collect plants from areas which have permission to forage. We feel it is important we respect not only the wildlife that lives in Epping Forest but the organisation that manages it for our enjoyment.

I am a firm believer in the healing power of nature. We all know how relaxing a walk in the woods can be and evidence shows us the quality of our relationship with nature is part of the reason for its positive impact on our well-being. Having a stronger connection with nature means we have a stronger emotional attachment to our surroundings and this increases the mental well-being benefits. Our events aim to create those strong connections via workshops in whittling wood, nature drawing and weaving with plants, for example. All such events have the ability to allow us to be present in the moment and not trapped in our heads, which are filled with the stresses and strains of daily life. Even just sitting and chatting around the campfire is a joy in itself! 

Alongside the adult programme of events, we will be running Little Owls for preschool children in Wanstead Park. These monthly sessions will allow your kids to go a bit wild in the woods, cooking up a storm in the mud kitchen, following nature trails, learning about the plants and animals or swinging in the hammocks listening to stories. Each month will have a different theme, and May is all about trees! Make a leaf crown, match up the picture and discover how to identify trees or create woodland art on the forest floor. 

Tinder Sticks Community Interest Company also secures funding to deliver projects for marginalised sections of the community to help break down the socio-economic barriers that stop people from enjoying the outdoors. We believe that everybody should have the opportunity to relax, enjoy and learn from the nature around us. It is thanks to the City Bridge Trust that we can provide both of these projects free of charge to you with the aim of connecting the community to Epping Forest and improving well-being.

I hope to see you in the woods!

Walk in the Woods events are free to join, but booking is required as spaces are limited. Events start from 9 May. For more information, visit tindersticks.org.uk