The forest always seemed magical to me. Some time ago I was even frightened by it. Forest ghosts, wild animals or that I am going to get lost. Near Dublin there are beautiful mountains with magical trees. Walks around Wicklow are always interesting, especially when we walk further away from tourist trails.
As a child I visited the forest during my summer holidays. My cousin was always with me. Walks were a form of escape from the house. The forest was a place where we shared our secrets. An undercover adventure where the cover up was mushroom picking, even if we did not find anything it was still exciting. We had our secret places that we only new about. Near the stream, near a hunting spot, and in a shrubbery where a car was burned some time ago. We observed nature and followed the footsteps of forest animals. To this day the magical aura remains and forest walks really relax me.
Healing properties of trees were valued for a long time. Old legends spoke of the powerful energy that trees have, some specific types of trees had more power than others. What I find interesting is that recent studies support some of these theories. The birch-tree is said to help with depression, oak supports good circulation and conifers are good for the respiratory system because they secrete essential oils. After walking in the forest your body is oxygenated, your muscles are stimulated and your mood is lifted.
Walks in Wicklow
The conservation park in Wicklow is a very popular place for walks. All year round you will see a lot of people walking along the tourist trails. Personally I prefer to contemplate the forest’s piece and quiet on my own. So instead of walking at the popular places I prefer to do my walks outside the national park. I choose to walk on side trails where picnic places and the parking lot is and I am not a loner there. Others are also looking for the magical forest atmosphere. Slow and relaxing walking allows me to look at everything carefully, and for that I am able to find a lot of mushrooms that we later enjoyed at home.
Walking on slopes and hills forced you to use your muscles more and so you lose more calories than you would if you were walking in the park. It is also much easier to walk on the forest floor than on the hard pavement. Walking this way is good for your joints. Good circulation supports the heart and lungs. Ongoing physical activity produces happy hormones in your body called endorphins. During a typical walk you are able to burn about 200 kcal per hour. Walking with a stick (form of hiking) is very popular right now and it makes us use 90 per cent of our muscles and during an hour you are able to burn from 400 to 700 kcal. Perhaps this is not the only element of this phenomenal sport that is popular in the Scandinavian countries now becoming more and more popular in other European countries.
Shape your child’s sensitivity
The virtual world creates a very different sense of reality. Children spend a lot of their time starring into the monitor screen. It pays off to take them out for a walk. Their eyes will rest. The colour green has calming properties. The wide area a child can observe will loosen their eye muscles. Spending time outside will oxygenate their little bodies and allow them to store some extra vitamin D in their system. Calm and relaxing walks together are great for family bonding. It is also a great way to shape a child’s sensitivity and awake their creativity. Looking for mushrooms or tracking animal’s steps teaches them how to be more perceptive. Comparing the different types and species helps the child to think in an analytical way. Taking the camera out with you is a great way of capturing the moments you are spending together, or documenting your findings. Remember that you cannot take everything home that you found. In national parks it is against the law to pick up plants and take them home.
When I was walking along the river Avonmore I captured everything on camera. I take my camera everywhere with me. Organising my pictures at home relaxes me just as much as when I was taking them. I recommend a walks in Wicklow. They say that forests are all the same no matter where you go, but the experiences are always different. And what an amazing mood lifter.