Get fitter for free in forest

Forest rangers Hannah Darcel (LEFT) and Adrienne Bennett with tools in hand launch the first ever Woodland Workout Scheme in Yorkshire, designed to get folk involved in caring for the scenic wood while keeping fit.
Forest rangers Hannah Darcel (LEFT) and Adrienne Bennett with tools in hand launch the first ever Woodland Workout Scheme in Yorkshire, designed to get folk involved in caring for the scenic wood while keeping fit.
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FORGET expensive gym fees – Sheffield forest rangers have come up with the perfect way to shed pounds, save the pennies and give Mother Nature a helping hand!

The Forestry Commission is to launch a first ever woodland workout project in 1,200-acre Wharncliffe Wood, near Sheffield, to help folk stay in trim and improve wildlife habitats.

Free sessions take place on the second Wednesday of each month starting on February 9 from 10am to 3pm. Now a recruitment drive is under way to get adults to go green and sign up.

Hannah Darcel, health and wellbeing ranger with the Forestry Commission, said: “There are loads of tasks that need doing in the woods, from removing trees like birch to let oak saplings thrive, creating a hedge around the grazing cattle enclosure, and planting oaks and other deciduous trees.

“These are also great ways of staying active and meeting new friends, and it can have a really positive impact on your sense of wellbeing.”

Volunteers will be taught how to use a range of tools safely and each session will start with a 15-minute walk through the wood.

Hannah said: “People can work at their own pace and there’s a real sense of satisfaction in doing something positive for the environment. We believe this project will benefit a wide range of people of all fitness levels, especially those with a passion for the great outdoors.”

Wharncliffe Wood – South Yorkshire’s biggest public woodland – is being restored with native trees like oak and rowan replacing most of the conifers.

For more information and a registration pack call Hannah on 07789 942599.

n A state-of-the-art ‘outdoor gym’ has been installed at Mapplewell Park, Barnsley.

Equipment is aimed at everyone but is especially suitable for older people. Coun Roy Miller said: “Visitors can work out free in pleasant surroundings.”