Ecotherapy Activities at St Nicks

Centre for nature and green living

Ecotherapy Activities at St Nicks

Blue sky and trees at St Nicks nature reserve

On this page you can find out more about our Ecotherapy groups. To find out if groups are currently meeting in person please visit our main Ecotherapy page for further updates or stay up to date by signing up for our newsletter. During lockdowns we also offer online and phone support. Ecotherapy participants can also access one to one mentoring support. If you would like to join Ecotherapy complete an enrolment form or contact Ecotherapy team via:

Ecotherapy promotes good mental and physical wellbeing through nature based activities. At St Nicks we offer a wide range of Ecotherapy groups listed below. All participants have access to one to one mentoring support. For full details about the benefits of Ecotherapy and how the groups work, click here.


Plot to Plate  – Mondays 10am-12pm year round at the Holgate Allotment site.

St Nicks allotment

Help to manage the St Nicks allotment. The site has raised beds, fruit trees, a variety of vegetables and a wildflower area that runs alongside a beck. This group is peer led. It is a quiet and spacious site, there is room to work on your own project in one area of the allotment or work together with the other volunteers.

Bearing Fruit – Mondays 1-3pm, year round at St Nicks. 

Be a part of our community orchard at St Nicks Local Nature Reserve; managing existing wildlife habitats and creating new ones. Help us look after our established fruit trees, soft fruit sites and Yorkshire heritage apple trees. Learn conservation skills such as scything, pruning and hedge laying from our experienced tutors.


Discover Nature – Tuesdays 10am-12pm year round at St Nicks. Orange Ladybird on hand

Join a safe and nurturing environment in which you can learn more about the natural world. Sessions are seasonally themed. Each week focuses on a different species or habitat with the opportunity to participate in wildlife-based activities, animal surveys and field trips planned around the migration of birds and animals throughout the year. We also arrange talks from local experts. There’s always something new to discover.

Nordic Walking Tuesdays: 1-2pm ‘Learn to Nordic walk’, 2-3pm ‘Nordic Walks’ year round from St Nicks. 

Evidence confirms that connecting to nature with green exercise improves both self-esteem and mood, as well as builds emotional and physical resilience. All sessions are coached by qualified Nordic Walking UK (NWUK) instructor Michelle Cairns from Jorvik Walking. Classes are free and Nordic poles are provided. All new participants are asked to attend the 1-2pm ‘Learn to Nordic Walk’ sessions which run in 4 week blocks. Once completed walkers are welcome to join the 2-3pm group.

Willow Weaving  – New dates to be announced in Spring 2022.  

The 12-week course will focus on developing the weaving skills used in basket making, using willow and other natural materials. Angela Cole will run the weekly sessions. In true craft tradition, skills will be practiced and repeated, building confidence and ability. All learning will be through practical making with a garden theme including giant flowers, bird feeders and a simple basket towards the end of the course. No experience necessary, all tools and materials provided. Sessions will be outside whatever the weather, so it will be important to dress appropriately.  


Art-based Creative Writing Wednesdays 10am-12pm term-time at St Nicks.

These sessions are an exciting way to develop creativity whilst making new discoveries about nature through observation. This group starts with the introduction of a theme for the morning’s writing or art followed by a short walk around the nature reserve or a sit. Taking in the sights and scents of the reserve for inspiration the group then gather to discuss their ideas. The tutor offers tasks and guidance for participants to contemplate whilst they connect to nature.

BushcraftNew dates to be announced in Spring 2022.  

The Bushcraft Course is a completely hands-on, practical experience.  Guided throughout by Andrew Garner, your qualified bushcraft instructor, you will develop skills and knowledge that can be applied to survive and thrive in a natural environment.  We will discover fire lighting, hand tool use, water purification, shelter construction, open fire cooking and something of the natural world about us.


Word from the Wild Thursdays 10am-12pm year round at St Nicks and ‘on location’. 

Words from the Wild offers friendly social sessions for those interested in books, ideas and imagery with a link to the natural world. The sessions are run by Eco Book Club tutor William Davidson. There is no pressure to read the book independently, the experienced tutor picks passages for the group to enjoy as a shared reading experience each week. This is followed by a nature inspired writing task which the group discuss and then consider as they explore the reserve with the writing still fresh in their minds. Hot tea and biscuits are enjoyed by all at the end! This group meets on Wednesday’s 10-11.30am.

Get Gardening Thursdays 1:30pm-3pm April to Nov at St Nicks. Edible border in the St Nicks gardens

This group is run in partnership with the Discovery Hub and Converge based at York St John University. People of all abilities are welcome. Learn how to garden creatively using a variety of means including the use of container planting and making the most of smaller spaces. Growing activities include natural pest control, feeding, plant care, re-potting, vegetable growing, herb gardening, and seed sowing and collecting.

Interested? Want to know more? Please see this page for more details on how Ecotherapy works or how to enroll at St Nicks, watch the video below to see it in practice and/or contact the Ecotherapy team on 01904 411821 or email


This page was last updated 8 Feb 2022