National Tree Week

The 25 November to 3 December marks the UK’s largest celebration of trees – National Tree Week. Organised by The Tree Council, it welcomes the beginning of tree planting season and the appreciation of all that nature has to offer.


Nature and Mental Well-Being

In this fast-paced age of social media and technology, it’s very easy to forget the importance of slowing down and appreciating the beauty of nature surrounding us. With the rise of poor mental health,1 it has been found that spending time in nature may be an effective way to increase happiness and may even help to relieve some symptoms of depression, anxiety and low mood.2-3 More specifically, the Japanese concept of “Shinrin-yoku” known as forest bathing (don’t panic – no swimwear is required!) encourages us to unplug from technology for a short while, be fully present with nature and breathe deeply to instil a feeling of calm.3 We’ll admit this may sound a bit strange but why not give it a go next time you’re on a country walk or in your local park. Can you hear birds or the crunch of leaves beneath your feet? What do the tree trunks feel like? Can you smell any fresh flowers? Do you notice light gleaming through the branches? Use your senses to help you really focus on the beauty around you and be intentional about having a moment of calm out of the craziness of day-to-day life. You can think of it as a digital detox!


Our Gut and Nature

We know the importance of having a wide and varied diet to maintain good gut health, but did you know that being out in nature has been linked with improving the diversity of your gut bugs? A study looking at the effects of preschool children being out in nature found that there was a change in their gut bug diversity as well as a reduction of stress.4 Also, if you’ve been blessed with green thumbs, gardening has been linked with increased gut bug diversity due to the interaction with soil!5

Our Gut and Exercise

Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just prefer a brisk walk around your local park, National Tree Week is a fantastic opportunity to lace up your shoes and head out into the fresh air for some exercise which helps not only your physical health but also your gut health! Regular exercise has been linked with more gut bug diversity which is associated with immune health.6 Pretty amazing!

Gut Inspiration

In need of some inspiration? We’ve shared a few ways to encourage you to get out in nature and more involved this National Tree Week:

  • Take a walk in a green space on your lunch break
  • Plan a nature hike with friends or family
  • Have a forest scavenger hunt (a great one for kids…and adults!)
  • Go for a forest bike ride
  • Get creative – tap into your artistic side and draw a picture of a tree or plant
  • Join a walking group in your local area
  • Plant a tree!

Find out more

Find out more about National Tree Week here.

What to know more about exercise? Check out these Love Your Gut tips to ‘Gut Active’!


  1. World mental health report: Transforming mental health for all (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 24 October 2023).
  2. McMahan, E.A. and Estes, D. (2015) ‘The effect of contact with natural environments on positive and negative affect: A meta-analysis’, The Journal of Positive Psychology, 10(6), pp. 507–519. Available at:
  3. Furuyashiki, A. et al. (2019) ‘A comparative study of the physiological and psychological effects of forest bathing (Shinrin-yoku) on working age people with and without depressive tendencies’, Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, 24(1), p. 46. Available at:
  4. Sobko, T. et al. (2020) ‘Impact of outdoor nature-related activities on gut microbiota, fecal serotonin, and perceived stress in preschool children: the Play&Grow randomized controlled trial’, Scientific Reports 2020 10:1, 10(1), pp. 1–12. Available at:
  5. Brown, M.D. et al. (2022) ‘Fecal and soil microbiota composition of gardening and non-gardening families’, Scientific Reports 2022 12:1, 12(1), pp. 1–12. Available at:
  6. Monda, V. et al. (2017) ‘Exercise Modifies the Gut Microbiota with Positive Health Effects’, Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2017. Available at: