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Walking through Arundel’s Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust was a mini wellness retreat I didn’t know I needed

Recapping my Sunday day trip to the beautiful little town of Arundel where we took in a lot of wild birds #livingtheirbestlife, and where I unintentionally dabbled in micro mindfulness and gave myself a mini wellness retreat.

A pelican swims across its little lagoon with its mouth open. Its lower beak is bright orange indicating it is breeding season. It has white plumage and a yellow eye. The water changes from blue to green.

Arundel has long been on my list of places to check out thanks to its impressive Norman castle and of course, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) located just outside the town. It has taken me ages to get there because I do not drive, but thankfully my darling delight that is my boyfriend does! And so, he whisked us down to Arundel for a relaxing little day trip over last Sunday.

My oh my, was it a lovely place to go and visit. We got there for around 13.30pm but it opens at 10.00am so you could get there earlier. The centre shuts at 16.30pm but even 3 hours was plenty of time to see everything – so if you want to ensure you get to see it all, then I would say get there no later than 12.00-12.30pm. Tickets for adults cost £14.50 per person, meaning that I gave myself a mini wellness retreat for under £15! That is unheard of, but it goes to show that you do not need to splurge in order to greatly benefit from wellness...or mindfulness.

The entrance contains the gift shop and café area which has a lovely seating space that looks out onto one of the lagoons where you can watch the wildfowl go about their day. There is no right way to start your journey, although I will say the route we took was my preferred route as we got to see the pelicans last which ended everything on the highest note. Comes down to preference really. We turned left after entering and wound our way through the different exhibits slowly.

It was surprising, but I realised after leaving that our day trip turned into a sort of mini wellness retreat thanks to the numerous benefits I gained from the experience. So much so, that I felt it was both important but also fun to talk about (and maybe help inspire others to do the same, this time with more intention behind it though!).

WWT Arundel has a long winding raised boardwalk that takes you through the wetlands. The boardwalk path curves slightly around some trees. The leaves grow on the trees again so everything is bright green.

From the get-go I noticed that I immediately felt very relaxed whilst simultaneously excited to explore the place. Even better was right upon entering, we came across an adorable family of ducks with a sweet brood of 6 chicks. It was heart-meltingly cute. It made for a wonderful little photo-op. to be honest, there were so many photo ops. Birds make for great photography subjects. Who knew?


Much of the centre is a series of natural lagoons and forest for birds to shelter and reside within. In the summer it will be full of insects and other critters like water voles and toads (we actually saw hundreds of tadpoles swimming around) alongside the birds. It is also home to many migratory birds so throughout the year you get different species. And let me tell you, it is a wildlife photographers haven! I do not know how many we saw with their massive telescopic lenses snapping shot after shot – I admit I was a tad jealous considering I had only my phone. Next time I shall bring my DSLR although it is still nowhere near the power of those giant lenses. At one point in my life, I had longer to be a nature photographer, and I did still get to live out my dream a little bit last Sunday which was awesome.


The main takeaway from this though, is that I was still able to get creative – even though I did not have a great camera, I still managed to take some fantastic shots on my phone (as you can see from the photos in this post). It was lovely to get out and experiment with different subject matters than what I have been photographing of late. And later on I got to practice with editing photos in Adobe Lightroom some more – which I am slowly improving in!


I would like to note that not all of the exhibits were open due to ongoing repairs and maintenance, that being said, most of them were open and they all offered lovely peeks into wildfowl life. There were so many hides, where you could peer out into the many lagoons and bird-watch. The hides were soft and invited a sense of quietude, encouraging one to just take pause, sit and enjoy the wildlife. Oh - a 'hide' is a little shelter (almost like a lean-to) that is used to help camouflage and hide (hence the name) people from wildlife. They are used in wilderness settings to ensure that people do not disturb wildlife, whilst still allowing people to actually see wildlife.

From a wellness point, this was something that I ended up enjoying although because we were slightly tight for time, I couldn’t sit as long as I would have liked to. But it was great to have all these hides that encourage people to just stop and take time to enjoy wildlife being wild. It was a great reminder that we need to stop and slow down more.


Overall, throughout my time there, I felt much more relaxed and generally just softer – I could feel grace and gratitude rising up from within. I was unhurried. I definitely noticed that I was in a great mood during my visit and also after that (although I was very tired from having a hectic Friday and Saturday prior to that so I fell asleep in the car on our way home! Whoops). But I definitely felt way more positive. I always feel much better and more myself after spending time in nature and this trip proved it once again.

A lagoon is bathed in sunlight that filters through trees with bright green leaves that have newly grown. It gives off a magical vibe.

Immersing yourself in nature is a fantastic way to relax and remind yourself that there is a lot to be grateful for. Watching little baby birds explore their world, seeing tadpoles swimming around a murky pond, walking around hand-in-hand with my boyfriend enjoying each other’s company, the sun warming up my face, the fresh wind gently caressing my skin…all of these little moments: it was a series of healthy doses of micro mindfulness for the entire afternoon.


There is something about being outdoors that makes me grateful to be alive.

It certainly added to the vibe that a mini wellness retreat aims to bring!


4 small blue-purple Forget-Me-Nots grow in a clump. They have a yellow ringlet around the black centre and sit above a bigger cluster that lies below them on the ground.

And knowing that makes me even more grateful to be here existing, having this life and getting to experience living. The way my mindset is shaped, means that even the smallest things feel hugely important to me and give me more than enough reason to enjoy the fact that I am alive and having this earthly experience.


Being in this headspace: relaxed, positive and happy, helped me let go of stress that had accumulated throughout the week (and well before that too!), which I appreciated. Being in nature, being in the moment, I just felt really good. I felt safe and soft and sweet. It was very grounding and it helped me re-centre myself. I was in a great great mood. Of course, having my boyfriend helped with that – he is great company and we had lots of fun, so thank you for that my darling! (I know you’ll read this post at some point!).


That being said, even if you have nobody to join you, getting out into nature is still 100% beneficial for you, for all the reasons I have described above, so do not feel that you need to have company in order to make it worthwhile. Company can be great but there also may be times you just want time to yourself – just you and the great outdoors. If you do it alone, it can become a space of reflection where you can retrospect and analyze certain things that may be going on in your life. In that way, nature is a great sounding board because it lets you have the space to think and clear your head.

In my case, this walk could not have come at a better time. The day before I had been in London for a shuffle (dance) meet up. I was there for about 4-5 hours and dancing for most of that time, not to mention I had to walk a lot to get into/around London and back down to Guildford. Although it was mindfulness and wellness – dancing helps me be in the moment and is a great form of exercise – it was an intense day, so I was extremely tired by the end of it. Having a completely restful day on Sunday brought balance into my life that I clearly needed. I was active and inactive (well okay, relatively speaking). Although our walk around the wetlands was still movement, it was much slower. However, movement is movement and it mean that I still got in some form of exercise. The best part is that it never feels like exercise, so my brain does not get turned off the idea of it.

A swan swims in a large lagoon beyond some reeds that grow. The water is a deep navy-denim blue and has many ripples in it from the wind.

Spending time walking in nature is a great way to stay healthy and exercise without it feeling boring. It can also be helpful for anyone with social anxiety or low body confidence who are not keen on going to gyms because in nature it is just you (maybe some loved ones) and that is all. No judgement, no anxiety-inducing scenarios to deal with. Win-win in my books.


To recap, the wetlands centre provided a great day out both for leisure and for health. A mini wellness retreat if I ever saw one! When it comes to health, this is where I found I gained great benefit:

o   It gave me space to pause, rest and reset

o   I got to micro-dose a series of mindful moments

o   I felt much more grounded, safe and serene

o   It helped me feel grateful for my life

o   My stress and anxieties melted away so I was in a good mood

o   I felt my creative juices flowing

o   I exercised without even realizing which is great for my physical health


All that, and all I did was spend a few hours walking around a wetlands centre! It is amazing that it can take so little to find great benefit. So, for other nature-lovers out there, why not try walking around a nature reserve/centre – if you are in the UK, there are plenty of them! Or even just get out into nature: scale up a mountain, swim in the sea, kayak down a river or walk around the woods; I guarantee you will feel much better off. It does not need to take much to infuse more wellness into your life. And if you are not the biggest nature person, centres such as WWT Arundel can be a great place to get outside as they are maintained, not far from civilization and so on, yet still allow you to get outdoors.

Would you go visit WWT Arundel or a similar place? Would you ever take yourself on a mini wellness retreat such as this? Let me know down in the comments!


Until next time,



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