Person-centred therapy groups in a nature setting, for men suffering with complex and enduring poor mental health

Are you suffering with poor mental health?


Would you benefit from talking and listening to other men?

We hold one-off group sessions throughout the Autumn and Winter, and run longer projects throughout Spring and Summer.

We meet in a natural woodland setting. There's time to sit by the fire, have a cup of tea, chat and learn some woodland skills.


What might you gain?

Group therapy is at least as effective as one-to-one therapy. It can improve your experience of relating with others and your sense of yourself. This can happen when we build a group in which it feels safe to be open and honest about your experience. Group experiences take time to develop but can be enormously beneficial. The intention of the woodland activities is to help you to explore your experiences at your own pace and to express yourself.

Although often counselling, offered by other services, takes place indoors, there are times when there is a need for a more natural setting, which brings its own therapeutic benefits. Heart Wood offers nature based therapy.


Is this for you?

  • Are you suffering with poor mental health?

  • Could you benefit from helping to build a trustworthy, confidential group - somewhere which is separate from the rest of your life?

  • Could you benefit from experimenting with how you relate with other men?

  • Could you benefit from learning woodland skills and doing creative woodland activities?

  • Do you like the idea of sitting around the fire? 

  • Are you ok about getting a bit wet or dirty?

  • Group therapy can support you in accessing your feelings. Do you have a trusted person you can talk to outside the group?

Lead Facilitators

Rab Erskine and Chip Ponsford are experienced person-centred counsellors who share an enthusiasm for outdoor counselling work. We are excited about this opportunity to offer respectful, accurate listening and open and honest relating, in a woodland setting, with a view to helping you move towards your own healing.


Men's Group

Our Men's Groups meet weekly on Friday's between April and August, from 10.30am - 2.30pm. There are a maximum of 10 men per group.  The sessions take place at two sites in private woodland at Minsteracres, County Durham, DH8 9RT.  The woodland site is fully accessible. 

These are closed groups for up to eight men. 

The dates for the 2023 Men's Groups will be confirmed in Autumn 2022. 

Connecting Sessions

Between October and March, we offer monthly drop-in 'Connecting Sessions' for previous group participants and men who are potentially interested in joining a Men's Group in 2023. The sessions take place on the first Friday of each month at our sites in woodland at Minsteracres.

Connecting Session Dates:

Friday 7 October 2022

Friday 4 November 2022

Friday 2 December 2022

Friday 6 January 2023
Friday 3 February 2023

Friday 3 March 2023


There is no charge for attending Heart Wood sessions.

Participants are welcome to make a donation to Heart Wood either in cash at a session, or online. For information how to do this please go to our 'Support Us' page.

Join us

If you'd like to come along to a Connecting Session, or register for the Men's Group in 2023, please call Chip Ponsford on 07940 853123 to discuss this further.