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Men's Groups

“There’s no pressure, or expectation. The no pressure or expectation is very, very, rare in the modern world at the minute, isn’t it?”  Men's Group Participant

Are you suffering with poor mental health?

Would you benefit from talking and listening with other men?

We run weekly Men's Groups throughout Spring and Summer and monthly drop-in Connecting Sessions throughout the year.

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 2024 Men's Groups will meet weekly on Friday's between Friday 29 March and Friday 2 August from 10.30am - 2.30pm. There are a maximum of ten men per group.  


The sessions take place at our Lakeside and Woodland sites in private woodland at Minsteracres Retreat Centre, Northumberland, DH8 9RT.  The Woodland Site is fully accessible.

Connecting Sessions

Each month we offer drop-in 'Connecting Sessions' for previous group participants and men who are potentially interested in joining the next Men's Group project.

The sessions take place on Friday's either after the Men's Group (when they are running) or during the day during the Autumn/ Winter. They take place at our woodland site at Minsteracres.

Connecting Session Dates 2023 / 2024

Friday 4 August / 3.30pm - 5.30pm

Friday 8 Sept / 11am - 2pm

Friday 6 October / 11am - 2pm

Friday 3 November / 11am - 2pm

Friday 1 December / 11am - 2pm

Friday 12 January / 11am - 2pm

Fri 2 February / 11am - 2pm

Fri 1 March / 11am - 2pm


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 discuss joining a Men's Group in 2023, please call Chip on 07940 853123 to discuss this further or email

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