Have you been down to the woods today?

Neil Mapes (Director of Dementia Adventure CIC, Chelmsford, UK)

Working with Older People

ISSN: 1366-3666

Publication date: 1 January 2012



The purpose of this paper is to share the key findings of the Wandering in the Woods action research project conducted by Dementia Adventure. Practical implications for changing practices in the dementia care and health and well‐being sectors are highlighted.


Qualitative and quantitative data were gathered using the participatory appraisal method in small groups both before and after “woodland adventure” days out.


There was a 41 per cent increase in participants rating “exercise” as a factor which is “very important” to them. A number of potential physical, emotional, and social benefits of activity out in woodlands, for people with dementia, were identified.

Research limitations/implications

The research is conducted with three relatively small groups, which vary in composition across the study, for practical reasons associated with care and capability of participants.

Practical implications

Suggestions are shared and questions posed for individuals wanting to practically embed the learning from this project.


Research looking at the benefits of green exercise and experiences of people living with dementia in care taking activity out in nature is very limited, this paper significantly contributes to this growing body of knowledge.



Mapes, N. (2012), "Have you been down to the woods today?", Working with Older People, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 7-16. https://doi.org/10.1108/13663661211215105

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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