Ecotherapy Groups for Men Suffering with Poor Mental Heath

Would you benefit from talking and listening to other men? We will meet weekly in a natural woodland setting so there's time to sit by the fire, have a cup of tea, chat and learn some woodland skills.

From April - September, Heart Wood runs weekly sessions, with a maximum of 10 men per group. 

What might you gain? 

This is a nature based therapy project. Although most counselling takes place indoors, there are times when there is a need for a more natural setting, which brings its own therapeutic benefits.

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.



Rab Erskine and Chip Ponsford are experienced 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.


Chip Ponsford is accredited with BACP.  Rab Erskine is a practitioner member of COSCA, which is accredited with the Professional Standards Authority.


Heart Wood is a registered charity based in Northumberland that works to improve people’s mental health primarily through woodland based person-centred counselling projects. For more information go to


Is this for you?

  • Are you suffering with poor mental health?

  • Are you able to commit to attending regular weekly sessions from approximately 9.30am to 2.30pm between April and September? 

  • Would you be able to attend an initial overnight residential weekend?

  • 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? 



Groups meet in private woodland either near Slaley or Ponteland.



Chip and Rab can pick you up in a minibus from a collection point in Hexham. For Ponteland groups, this can include the metro stop at Callerton Parkway if you’re coming from Newcastle on the metro.



17th and 18th April (residential)

Every Friday from 24th April until 11th Sept (no sessions on 29th May, 7th Aug, 14th Aug)

18th & 19th Sept (residential)


Approximate timetable for weekly group sessions

10am        Pick-up in Hexham

10.30am     Walk to fire site and set-up (light fire, make a brew etc)

11am        Group time

1.30pm     Pack up

2pm        Leave site

2.30pm    Return to Hexham



Soup, rolls, hot drinks and snacks will be provided, or you can choose to bring your own lunch.






You will be invited to contribute to some form of voluntary evaluation of how helpful the group is for you.


If you think this could be for you and you’d like to explore the idea further, please contact Chip on 07940 853123.

Charity Reg in England and Wales: 1182889

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