Sir Walter Scott was a champion of health and wellbeing long before it was popular to do so. He had been afflicted by polio as a child and struggled with the "mulligrubs" (depression) following the banking crisis of 1825, which plunged him into severe debt. He strongly believed that the "evil spirits" that plagued his mind could be cured with fresh air and outdoor activities. The Learning in a Hertitage Landscape - Transforming Work project drew upon this philsophy, encouraging participants to consider their own health and wellbeing.
Every activity undertaken by participants had either a direct or indirect link to health and wellbeing - largely due to them taking place in the outdoors. Participants explained how physically challenging tasks such as pruning trees or harvesting vegetables had a positive impact on both their mental and physical wellbeing:
" It's good for my mental health"
They were also able to relate positive changes in their mood to creative tasks like quill work, poetry writing and sounds maps:
" It cleared my head... I felt better after it!"
We also explored health and wellbeing through activities that specifically targetered healthy eating and mindfullness. Groups followed the process from seed, to soup, exploring what went into their meals and how it got there. They made the connection between the past and present in the project's herb border and vegetable patch, using a specially - created booklet to explore the culinary and medicinal uses of herbs that would have been grown in Sir Walter's kitchen garden 200 years ago.
Groups tasted fresh herbs from the border and honey from Abbotsford's hives, using them to create delicious teas. They seeded, planted, maintained and harvested vegetables that they could take home for dinner, discussing potential recipes around the Bothy table. One of the most popular activities was foraging in the woodland area, tasting wild garlic, beech leaves, neetles and wild sorrel, reinforcing the natural origins of food.