Walking is definitely good for your physical fitness and building bone density, but being outdoors, in nature, is also excellent for your mental wellbeing – improving your mood and lowering anxiety – and if you walk with a friend or in a group it’s also great for your social health!
In Swansea Bay we have a wide range of walks from gentle strolls along the Prom to walking the Gower Way – but it’s not all about the walking, maybe once in a while pause to find shells along the seashore, feel the wind in your face along the Gower Coast Path or stop to watch the seabirds wheeling overhead. Just enjoy the moment and hopefully it will help you find a moment of peace and stillness.
It’s well established that the close connection people have with their dogs is beneficial for their health – the companionship and close contact – as well as the need to go for a walk twice a day!
We’ve lots of dog-friendly accommodation and cafés in Swansea Bay where you’ll both be welcomed – and you and your four-legged bestie will be able to enjoy a different walk every day.
Rhossili beach is a great big space for a lovely long walk, or stroll along the Promenade from Swansea to Mumbles (and you can both have a treat when you arrive!).
Walking in woodland through the trees and listening to birdsong is both relaxing and positive exercise, but you could take this a step further into the more mindful experience of forest bathing.
This simple practice of being calm and still in a forest or woods, to benefit your wellbeing, originated in Japan. By clearing your mind of your ‘to do list’ and becoming more aware of the sights, sounds and smells of nature around you – you notice more of the wildlife close by and this could help you to experience a sense of quiet and calmness. Forest Connections can help you explore forest bathing in our green spaces.
And you don’t have to venture into the wilderness – Clyne Country Park is a stone’s throw from the city and Penllergaer Valley Woods is easily accessible from the M4. Our parks and gardens also have wooded sections where you can find some peace and tranquility.
Make the most of your time outdoors by being mindful of the wildlife around you. If you take a pair of binoculars on your walks – you can spot even more. The time and patience it takes to watch out for wildlife will help to quieten your mind and appreciate your surroundings even more.
Naturalist and TV presenter Iolo Williams has recently taken some nature walks in Swansea and Gower – watch his Swansea Bay Safari videos to pick up some wildlife watching pointers.
The winter is a great time to see our dark skies at their best. Wrap up warm, take a blanket, a flask (a midnight snack or two!) and a torch – and experience the utter peace of watching the constellations track across the sky.
Read our Dark Skies page for the best places to go and some lovely pictures and video to whet your appetite for a moonlit stroll. We recommend taking your phone and letting someone know where you are going – or better still take a friend to share your blanket!
Perhaps your way of achieving some inner calm is by taking part in some outdoor activity? Whether you enjoy cycling or winter watersports Swansea Bay can help you get active to unwind.
If you are doing activities outdoors in the cold, make sure you have the right equipment and warm clothing, or winter weight wetsuit. We would recommend that you only attempt outdoor activities in the winter if you are already experienced or with an accredited operator.
… sometimes all we need to recharge is to spend time with our families, away from the daily routine of work and school. We’ve got some great beaches to run around on and amazing attractions to explore – how about feeding the crocs at Plantasia, becoming a Ninja Warrior or exploring the latest exhibitions at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery!
And if you really want to escape from it all, then Seren Retreat in the heart of Gower also offers Ayurveda retreats and holistic therapies…
… and at the end of the day, you’ll need somewhere to cosy up. Whether you’re thinking cosy country retreat or city centre hotel with a pool – in Swansea Bay you can have the buzz or hit snooze!
… food can be comforting at this time of year, so it’s important to build some meal stops into your day and choose your favourite food. A mug of hot chocolate or hearty pub lunch next to a roaring fire after a coastal walk, is just the thing to warm you inside and out – or spoil yourself with a pre-show dinner to make a city night out even more special.
Pamper yourself with a sauna – with amazing views across Gower’s coastline, try contrast therapy or a spa session. Relax and feel the day to day stress leave your mind and body.