What we do

The NHS Forest works with healthcare professionals and organisations to make green spaces available for health purposes. We carry out practical work on the empirical links between health and the environment. 

Our range of programmes seeks to inspire healthcare professionals to use green space to improve patients' lifestyles and aid recovery processes. 

Our programmes include:

NHS Forest: Planting the NHS Forest- since 2009 our 200+ NHS sites have collectively planted tens of thousands of trees on NHS land, creating shade, locking up carbon and enabling more people to access green spaces whilst at hospital. You can find a list of our sites here.

Nature Recovery Rangers: In 2021 we have embedded rangers at three NHS Forest sites where they are developing small-scale ecological projects with staff, patients and local residents.

Green Health Routes: We are working with GP practices and other community partners, such as schools and care homes, to develop Green Health Routes. Our programme helps people connect with the green spaces in their own neighbourhoods and promotes local walking. 

Bee Healthy: Together with partners in Oxfordshire, we are helping GP practices to create havens for bumblebees and other pollinating insects. 

NHS Forest Conference: Our annual conference brings together professionals from the healthcare and environmental sectors to discuss, learn and plan how to make the most of green space for health. 

Gardens and green space for healthcare: We work with hospitals to support the development of therapeutic green space for rest and recovery in clinical settings. Our best practice guidance offers advice on the design of green space for health and wellbeing.

Workplace Wellbeing: Our workplace wellbeing programme enables NHS trusts to support their staff in using green space to improve their wellbeing at work. Our research supported by the Health Foundation, investigated the impact of green space on staff wellbeing at three NHS sites.

Active Communities: We are working with partners in Oxfordshire on a ground-breaking programme that helps families enjoy sports together.

Sustainability and Evidence: We compile evidence for the impact of nature on health - the growng evidence base is summarised on our Sustainability and Evidence page. Read here why, in the current Covid-19 crisis, we need nature more than ever! 

Influencing Policy:  We work with NHS Trusts, Care Commissioning Groups, NHS England and other sustainbility and health charities to shape the debate around using green space for health purposes. 

Green Space and Health Consultancy: We work with local authorities, the charitable sector and research organisations providing expert advice in research, case study creation and project ideas. We have a unique place in the interface between health and green space and can use our 10 years experience across a wide range of projects.