Have you ever felt drawn to a place, almost as if you've been there before? A place that you feel welcomes you and makes you feel with every fibre of your being that you belong there?
Beyond the gate and past the drive stands the statue of a monkey, keeping guard at the entrance of a secret passageway leading through topiary trees that touch the sky, and on past the yews that line the bank of the moat. This magical place feels like home to us all; welcomed by the people and the nature that resides there, everything is lush with life, loved, tended and treasured for hundreds of years.
Kentwell Hall in Suffolk has a community of people that share a love of this mysterious and magnetic place, people that, but for Kentwell, may have never even met; strangers, connected over shared passions, soothed by the gentle hold of this magnificent house and grounds.
The Kentwell community is strong, and we all feel we belong there. The owners have shared their home with many and I'm told we all believe that our own individual little groups are the strongest; fostering friendships with people that, but for this place you would have never encountered, makes volunteering like forging a connection with like-minded pilgrims.
If, perhaps, you feel you need a sense of purpose and a reason to get out of bed, a wonderful distraction to switch off your racing mind, or indeed the company of others to brighten your day, volunteering in the gardens could make the difference between facing a long lonely winter and giving yourself the opportunity to be inspired by spending your free time with likeminded people doing something to bring you joy and growth.
The benefits of working in and with nature are astounding: the physical benefit of gentle exercise, the emotional support gained from working with others and the beneficial effect on your mental health that taking time out of your own head and focusing on something new will bring, could well be all the vacation you need. Often life can consume us, and without realising it we can internalise our worries and transfer them into everyday life. Working in nature allows you to truly work from the grass roots; to plant, to nurture and to grow.
There is nothing like the earth to ground you, working amongst trees that have stood watching for hundreds of years. Deep breaths taken in the fresh air, inhaling positivity and exhaling any thoughts that don't serve you, this place feels like a haven, this is what being present feels like, and this is most definitely the therapy that exists only in nature.
The garden 'Elves' at Kentwell all have their own reasons for coming here; for some it's a chance to meet new people, for others it's their reason for being, and for me it's an escape; an escape from responsibility, a time for me to focus on nothing but the task at hand, an opportunity to drown out the noise and to get lost in helping to support this magnificent place that I feel so blessed to call my home.
It has the potential to be everyone's home, because everyone is welcome.
If you feel anxious, on edge, exhausted with your own time, mind and space or, perhaps you'd like to try out channelling your inner green thumb, then why not join us? Whether it's weeding, planting, sewing, cutting, tidying, sorting, clipping, digging and sometimes daring, there is something for everyone, at any age. This is our sanctuary for our minds, a peaceful place to come and give back your time and your care, a place to regain your perspective within a supportive environment. If this sounds interesting to you, and you're thinking, that perhaps you could try this, then email firstname.lastname@example.org
Eco/green therapy is a 'thing'; the therapeutic benefit of spending time with plants, trees, flowers and the outdoors in general will activate your happy hormone, serotonin. Now why wouldn't you want some of that? If indeed you don't live near by and are thinking that you need to get yourself some of this feel good stuff, then have a browse here https://www.farmgarden.org.uk/about-us