Improve mental health in the outdoors!
Are you looking for activities to improve your mental health and wellbeing? At Via Ferrata Cornwall, we’re particularly aware of the huge toll that the pandemic has taken on people’s mental health. As a social enterprise that was launched last year with the mission to support our charity BF Adventure in caring for Cornwall’s most vulnerable young people, we’ve seen the anxiety, isolation and struggles that Covid-19 has caused. Now for the positive! We’ve also seen the incredible impact of the outdoors and exercise on mental wellbeing. Not just in the young people that BF Adventure supports with its outdoor education programmes, but in those who’ve joined us for outdoor walks and adventures!
How to improve mental health – what the research says
The NHS has listed 5 tips to improve mental health: connecting with others, being physically active, learning new skills, giving to others and paying attention to the present moment (mindfulness).
Several studies have linked the benefits of the outdoors to improved health and well-being. It’s believed that contact with nature plays a crucial and irreplaceable role in brain development, and simply walking through a natural environment can reduce blood pressure as cortisol levels return to normal and stress levels are reduced:
“People who use the natural environment for physical activity at least once per week have about half the risk of poor mental health compared with those who do not do so; and each extra weekly use of the natural environment for physical activity reduces the risk of poor mental health by a further 6%.” – Mitchell, 2013
Things to do at Via Ferrata Cornwall
From walking through nature to zip-lining through the air, there’s always something to boost mental wellbeing! Check out what’s on offer…
Explore our adventure trails and wild play areas
Get back to nature and explore our beautiful and remote site with our adventure trails for kids and adults! Away from the crowds, you’ll make your way through diverse habitat areas with bug zones, grassland, forest and wet woodland.
You’ll be treated to stunning views overlooking Falmouth Bay and the Lizard Peninsular and good Cornish fresh air! We worked with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust to develop the trails and actively encourage and protect our site’s wildlife.
There’s also a wild play area for under 10’s with a muddy kitchen, slide, swings and a climbing slope, with a covered seating area.
Sample the cakes at The Cornish Barista’s Cafe
Positioned at the top of the quarry with outdoor seating overlooking gorgeous views, the café offers super popular cakes and lunch.
Made by The Cornish Barista with local ingredients, 10% of the sales go to BF Adventure’s charity work. What better way to wind down with your loved ones and catch up over a cuppa and treats! The café is also dog-friendly and has free parking for locals.
Enjoy family adventure activities
Our most popular family activity is the Via Ferrata! This epic high wire adventure sees you making amazing memories and conquering fears as you wind across cliff faces on our iron stairway, brave our high wire bridge, tackle high challenges and leap from the top of the quarry onto our zip wire – all whilst being clipped into a safety cable!
Our budget camping is a brilliant way to get back to nature and relax over a BBQ! It’s quiet, peaceful, remote and extremely beautiful here, with stunning views and a super laid-back atmosphere. There’s a washing-up area, clean toilets, hot showers and free Wi-Fi, though this is the perfect place for a digital detox!
Treat your kids to adventure childcare!
Our Adventure Holiday Club is fantastic for boosting confidence and wellbeing. If your children are aged 6-13 and enjoy the outdoors, then this is the perfect treat!
You can simply drop them off with us for epic adventures and then come and collect them again. You can choose a half day or full day.
Options include coasteering, climbing, zip-lining, watersports, raft-building and archery, and suit adrenaline lovers and those completely new to the activities. They’ll get to learn new skills, make friends and most importantly, have fun!
How our activities improve mental health
All our activities are designed to boost confidence and wellbeing…
You’ll learn new skills!
Research shows the importance of learning new skills in boosting confidence and self-esteem, as well as connecting with others. All our activities will teach you technique, whether that’s honing your paddling skills, mastering jumping off coasteering platforms, or, perhaps most of all – practicing your climbing and balancing skills on our Via Ferrata.
You’ll connect over new experiences!
We want to be a place where whole families and groups of friends can come together, unwind and share unforgettable experiences. All our activities have lots of opportunities to connect with each other, whether it’s through navigating the high wire bridge of our Via Ferrata together as you balance (or bounce!) your way along, capturing each other on the zip wire, competing in our archery games, learning to belay during rock climbing, or sharing the hilarious moment when one of you wobbles off your paddle board into the water! There’s just as much opportunity to bond over looking for creepy crawlies in the bug hotel on our adventure trail, or winding down and enjoying the views from the cafe.
You’ll exercise in stunning surroundings
Whether you’re wandering through our beautiful adventure trails, scaling cliff faces on our Via Ferrata, paddling though pristine waters or plunging into the quarry water with our coasteering, this gorgeous site beats the gym any day. Out in the fresh air and exploring new things together, you’re sure to feel some happy endorphins!
You’ll practice mindfulness
When you’re 20 meters up a cliff, walking across a 70m long single strand of wire, soaring through the air on our zip wire or leaping into stunning quarry water, you really can’t think of much else! Being in the moment is hugely beneficial for mental health and Via Ferrata is a hugely popular sport for that reason – whilst it’s challenging and exhilarating, it’s also rather meditative. You’re focusing on something you’ve never done before and pushing your limits.
You’ll be giving to others
All of our profits go straight towards helping local disadvantaged children and young people through the work of our launching charity BF Adventure. These people are facing life’s toughest challenges, including mental health problems, issues associated with childhood trauma, poverty, physical disabilities and behavioural challenges – but the charity continues to empower them to build resilience and break down emotional, social and physical barriers in order to unlock their potential. By choosing to do an activity with us, you’re making an incredible difference to these people’s lives!
The best activity for mental health
Whilst all our activities are great for boosting mental wellbeing, it has to be said that the Via Ferrata is special. It gives you the freedom to push your limits in a completely safe environment and conquer your fears, leading to a huge sense of achievement when you’ve completed the routes! Suitable for adventuresome children aged 8+ to full on andrenaline junkies, there are challenges for everyone, from complete beginners to climbing pros, who can forgo the metal rungs and use the natural rock crevices to move around the course. Offering so much more than just an adrenaline rush, it’s one of the most unique, fun and exhilarating adventures to be had!
What our participants say
Here’s one of our favourite pieces of feedback from our Trip Advisor page:
“Let me open by saying I have a great fear of heights. I thought I would end up observing my friends having ‘fun’. However the instructors and staff are amazing, exceptionally friendly and they put me at ease. I never felt pressured. So I thought why not give it a go. I am so glad I did. The [Via Ferrata] courses are so well thought out they ease you into the climbing whilst providing total confidence in the safety equipment, instructors and your own ability to do the course. I never thought I would do this and if I can anyone can. Such a great time with great people. Please give this a go, it’s a real bright spot in what could be considered a dark year. I can’t wait to go back and can’t recommend this highly enough.” – Theale
We hope to see you soon!
Whether you’re after full-on adrenaline or a relaxing time in nature, we’d love to help you enjoy the moment and improve mental health post-lockdown!
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