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Basildon Park

An Oxfordshire Mind peer support group, from Abingdon, visited Wayfaring at Basildon Park, a National Trust property near Reading.

The group, hosted by the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding National Beauty, were guided through the outdoor art installation; Wayfaring, that has been created this week within the Basildon Park Estate.

Wayfaring is inspired by ancient chalk landscapes and the Icknield Way, which is claimed as the oldest road Britain. The group, who suffer from mental illness, engaged in sessions at the Wayfaring installation focusing on mindfulness, nature and landscape.

Speaking at the 2016 Landscapes for Life Conference organised by the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Dr Caroline Jessell described the benefits of using the natural environment to improve health and well-being. The Wayfaring project is enabling the North Wessex Downs AONB to engage with health and well-being charities, demonstrating the benefits of getting out into landscape and nature’s ability to heal.

On reflecting on their Wayfaring experience, the group from Oxfordshire Mind said:

“All the things we have experienced here today can help us get well, from nature, walking in the park and social connection. This experience helped us connect with the moment and we all feel valued and welcome.”

‘Wayfaring’, is created by artists Mandy Dike and Ben Rigby, who work together as And Now: and produced by Activate in partnership with the North Wessex Downs AONB, the Corn Exchange Newbury, 101 Outdoor Arts Creation Space and the National Trust, with support from the Arts Council.

On the evening of Saturday 21st July from 7pm, live music and performance will transform the art installation,  with the characters of Wayfaring taking visitors on a dusk journey through the woods into the landscape of Basildon Park, and discovering the Wayfaring installation. This is also free to attend, however, tickets need to be reserved in advance.