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Walkers in the Winskill Meadows Walkers in the Winskill Meadows

Dales Fell-being Project

The second course of the Dales Fell-being project will start on 13 April 2024 and is part-funded by Sport England’s small grants programme. It will support a group of 18-30 year olds to join us for six free sessions in the Yorkshire Dales to build the skills and confidence to access the National Park for running, recreation and activity.

Background

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is a landscape for everyone and we want everyone to feel able to access it. However, we know that accessing this landscape is an unequal privilege, especially for those living in areas ranked as more deprived. This project allows us to open up the National Park to more young people, providing them with the skills and confidence to come here for the benefit of their physical and mental wellbeing.

‘Dales Fell-being’ is an activity programme for young adults aged 18-30, with priority being given to those living in Inner East Leeds, to support them in finding ‘wellness in the fells’. Evidence shows this group find it particularly hard to get out into the hills, aggravated by Covid and the cost of living crisis, with a new report finding 46% of young people have fears about not having enough money to buy essentials.

Young adults living in the area have also expressed an interest in visiting the Yorkshire Dales National Park but aren’t always clear exactly how to do that, an ambition further complicated by a lack of running clubs within the Inner East Leeds area, compared with the rest of the City.

We want to give confidence to those young people who want to come here for running, recreation and activity.

The course

Running outside is not only free, but an exhilarating mood enhancer too that requires little equipment. The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority can provide an alternative to urban running and a chance to experience the wellbeing benefits that come with spending time in open spaces.

Course participants will have the chance to set goals with a qualified life coach; measure progress with a run coach throughout; learn how to build and maintain strength; connect with nature; and recover and unwind with outdoor mindfulness and yoga specialists. And to support them in coming back into the National Park for more, participants will also be introduced to:

  • An annual calendar of nearly 50 fell running events taking place throughout the year which participants could continue to take part in following the project.
  • The gift of an OS map of the area and a compass so they feel equipped to return.
  • The public transport options, routes and amenities available in the Yorkshire Dales
  • Training through the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority such as ‘Navigation’ and ‘National Park Awareness’ which will build confidence to visit again.

Please contact kiri.wood@yorkshiredales.org.uk if you want to get involved, know someone who might be interested or have any questions at all.

Feedback from previous attendees

Discovering Wellness in the Yorkshire Dales: My Journey with Dales Fell-being – with thanks to Gary for sharing

For years, the beautiful Yorkshire Dales beckoned me, yet I hesitated to explore them alone. As someone grappling with mental health challenges for over a decade, I recognise the immense benefits of fresh air and nature on our well-being. When I stumbled upon the Dales Fell-being course, it seemed tailor-made for me, offering not just an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors but also to learn valuable skills like map reading in a beginner-friendly setting.

The course struck a perfect balance between imparting practical skills and encouraging physical activity, which was ideal given my health concerns. Surprisingly, it included activities I would never have tried on my own, such as a Pilates session, which I found interesting despite struggling a little with the session. Although I haven’t taken up fell running regularly, the course equipped me with the confidence to venture into the dales independently in the future if need be!

During the course, I was dealing with a difficult breakup. While I didn’t share my struggles openly, the sessions provided a much-needed distraction and support during a difficult time in my life. One of the best aspects of the course is that it’s completely free. This means anyone unsure about joining can try it without any financial commitment. If it’s not for you, you’ve lost nothing but a bit of time.

From my own experience, I’ve learned that it’s crucial to find ways to cope when feeling down. For anxiety, a long shower helps calm my mind. When I’m feeling depressed, reaching out to talk to someone can often bring some relief. It’s all about discovering what works for you, whether that’s hitting the gym, going a walk, losing yourself in a good book, or playing video games.

In conclusion, the Dales Fell-being course has been a pivotal step in helping my mental health over the last 12 months, offering both an escape and a way to face my challenges head-on. For anyone sitting on the fence about it, I highly recommend giving it a shot. Who knows? It might just be the beginning of a new chapter in your life.

We asked previous attendees how the course made them feel…

  • Active, stress-free and peaceful.
  • Calm, whole and happy.
  • Inspired, Refreshed and Motivated.
  • Energetic. Included and Knowledgeable.
  • Refreshed, enthusiastic and confident.

And what were their favourite things about the course…

  • Seeing wild mushrooms.
  • Feeling at ease, learning lots of new skills, going to different parts of the Yorkshire dales and being outside. I especially enjoyed the forest bathing.
  • Meeting new people.
  • Stepping out of comfort zone.
  • The whole course structure was well-designed. It was nice that the running built up and the balance between running / other sessions was perfect.
  • Kiri and Mel made everybody feel very comfortable and made sure everyone’s individual needs were met. It was nice and felt safe to have women leading the sessions as I felt more comfortable being curious and asking questions rather than focusing solely on goals which I believe made the experience more individual for everyone.
  • I really enjoyed the course – it’s a great concept and I’ve felt so many personal benefits as a result of taking part.

Download our flyer, here.