Health & Well-being in our Landscape

Stepping into Nature 

Stepping into Nature –  is helping to deliver health and well-being benefits for Dorset’s older people, including those living with dementia, pre and post diagnosed and their carers. Using Dorset’s outstanding natural and cultural landscape to create and provide dementia friendly activities and sensory rich visits to places of interest in Dorset.

 Current Activities Available 


Looking over Gold Cap


Lottery win for Dorset project helping people with dementia through nature

The Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) team, hosted by Dorset County Council, is celebrating a £320K award from the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund for a project that helps people with dementia to improve their health and wellbeing through nature.

Stepping into Nature is currently a pilot, but thanks to the award, the project will now be extended for a further three years in Bridport, Beaminster, Lyme Regis, Charmouth, Weymouth, Dorchester and Swanage.

The project is run by the Dorset AONB team alongside partners including the Alzheimer’s Society, Dorset Forest School, Arts Develoment Trust and the county council’s Partnership for Older People Programme (POPP).

It offers a range of outdoor activities for people with dementia and their carers, enabling them to be creative and socialise while engaging with Dorset’s beautiful natural landscape. Regular activities include the Greenwood Club in ancient woodland at Netherbury near Bridport, where a small group gets together once a month to learn and rediscover traditional woodworking skills.

Julie Hammon, project officer for the Dorset AONB team, said:

“One of the aims of the AONB is to enable all people to be able to access the landscape easily. Together with our partners, I am delighted that Stepping into Nature’s contribution to improving people’s health and wellbeing in the landscape has been recognised.”

“This Big Lottery Fund award will enable us to build on the success of the pilot projects, and reach out to more vulnerable adults in the community.”

Cllr Jill Haynes, the county council’s Cabinet member for adult health, care and independence, said:

“Congratulations to the Dorset AONB team and its partners for this recognition from the UK National Lottery.  The money will be used for similar projects across the county to help more people improve their wellbeing through our wonderful countryside.

“It’s really exciting to be working with local organisations on these new initiatives.”

 Check out the Netherbury Green Wood Club Video HERE


Pilot Project Information

Bournemouth University Dementia Institute carried out a Focus Group study as part of the Stepping into Nature Pilot Project, see what people mentioned about opportunities and barriers to accessing the natural Environment around them.




For more information about the project please contact

Julie Hammon

or call 01305 224785


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