Green UWE and Wellbeing

How to connect with nature for wellbeing

Our Green UWE Campus and Wellbeing

Sophie Vickress

BSc(Hons) Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science

There is so much hustle and bustle in our everyday lives and sometimes it is hard to catch a break. It is okay to feel a bit overwhelmed by the speed of things, but what really makes the difference is how we move forward in that situation.

I should just note that I am not a mental health professional, but have experienced this overwhelming feeling from a busy university and working life and have had struggles with my own mental wellbeing. I am here, not to bullet point tasks to resolve our mental health problems, but to advocate some ways of building a better mental environment to become healthier within.

For the most part, we find ourselves plodding about indoors, or at a desk, or commuting to and from work and home, without ever really looking up or going outdoors to connect with nature. For me, this creates a whirlwind of nonstop thinking and flooding stress levels. When I feel this rising, overwhelming tension, I stop and then take a break. I go to my nearest outdoor green space and just sit and breathe for a little while. I can close my eyes and listen to the buzz of the little creatures, the squawking of the seagulls, songs of the smaller birds, and I just sit. Once I feel the rush receding from my body, I open my eyes, I look out for the things I have just been listening to and appreciate what we have right next to us.

Ashton Court at UWE Bower Ashton Campus


I have realised how lucky I am to be working within a campus with such a green atmosphere. With more and more green spaces, on Frenchay campus seemingly popping up without much recognition but, are surely influencing our everyday lives here. In my experience, I become more mindful in nature, as I say above, I am able to calm down and recoup when I am surrounded by something green and natural. It makes me want to go out walking and experience the nature we have here, such as lunchtimes spent in the Stoke Estate Park, or just a stroll around the field and orchard in front of the Old Farmhouse. It is great for clearing your mind of stress but, taking along friends or colleagues can take that stress just a bit further away, and you never know, they might just need it as much as you do.

Community Garden at UWE Frenchay Campus

Creating or joining a community which share your interests is also a good way to take a break from work life. If your curiosities lie within outdoors and nature, the Community Garden or Greenspace projects, run by The Students’ Union at UWE, Green Team, might be perfect the activity to get involved in, as well as many others.

Just remember, you are allowed to take a break, from your work and even from your own bustling head. Find your green space, have a sit down or walk around, just listen or watch and don’t think about anything but where you are, and what you can hear, see, smell and feel.


Get involved with The Students' Union Community Garden Sessions here

Get involved with The Students' Union GreenSpace project here

Get involved with The Students' Union Green Team here



Join us on a Wellbeing Walk!


•       As a part of Feel Good February 100+ staff & students joined us for the biggest ever wellbeing walk at UWE!

•       91.7% said the event had a positive impact on their day

•       95.8% said the event made them feel more relaxed

•       78.3% said the event made them feel more calm

•       69.6% said the event made them feel uplifted

•       87.5% said the event encouraged them to think about their health & wellbeing


Quotes form participants:

“The Feel Good Feb Walk was great! It left me feeling really uplifted and gave me the chance to meet and network with new staff. I particularly liked that the walk leader pointed out areas all the ponds and greenspaces where we can sit outside. It was great to be given a tour of the Farmhouse, our new Student Centre, as this ties in with the wellbeing and mental wealth of our student cohort. I will definitely come on a walk again!”

“The Feel Good Feb wellbeing walk was a fantastic opportunity to get outside in the fresh air, meet new colleagues and learn about some of the amazing sustainability features on campus, including the greenhouse and a range of ponds that I didn’t even know existed!”


Walking Routes

Wellbeing Walk @ Arnolfini

Wellbeing Walk @ Bower Ashton

Wellbeing Walk @ Frenchay

Wellbeing Walk @ Glenside 



This article supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals