Forest Bathing at Firestone Copse


Way back in 1982, the Japanese foreign ministry coined the phrase shinrin-yoko. Forest bathing (in English), became part of a national public health programme. It means bathing in the forest atmosphere or taking in the forest through our senses. It’s enormously beneficial to our mental health and wellbeing.

a child in a blue coat, waving, standing in the woods

Here on the Isle of Wight we have loads of great forests to explore and Firestone Copse in Wootton is one of them. Firestone Copse has dozens of trails, including a wheelchair accessible track. There’s access to them all from the main carpark.

It’s easy to lose yourself amongst the giant Grand Firs in the forest.
Wander around, and enjoy a woodland which is notable for species including Oak, Douglas Fir and Cedar.
Don’t forget to look up when you pass through the Grand Firs to appreciate the majesty of these enormously tall trees. It’s easy to imagine yourself as a Lilliputian or a Borrower.


For kids, there’s a whole myriad of trails to explore and many of them are suitable for biking too. Some plunge deep into the forest, well off the beaten track. Others lead down to the waters of Wootton Creek, home to wetland plants and birds. Look out for herons, egrets, swans, and other wading birds.
There are also well established trails for smaller feet and plenty to fire kid’s imaginations. Imagine creating dens from fallen branches, collecting leaves and climbing trees. You may even spot our ever shy red squirrels. It’s a great spot too for dog walkers. There’s lots of opportunity to let your furry friend run free with benches close by to rest weary human legs.
a child walks on the shore of a creek with bare branched trees

You could take a picnic and use one of the Copse’s picnic benches. We recommend a coffee from Drew’s Brews served from his Piaggio Apé coffee van. He’s there 9am -5pm Wednesday to Sunday during the summer months. Buy a drink, sit on a bench, listen in peace to the prolific bird song and see which birds you can identify. Start with the easy woodpecker or the raucous jay and go from there…

tall trees with blue sky behind
Firestone Copse is easy to get to down Firestone Copse Road just off the main road, Kite Hill, between Ryde and Wootton Bridge. On your way home, stop off at Quarr Abbey and see the pigs, the Benedictine monastery and enjoy a cuppa in the tea garden. You can find out more about Quarr Abbey walks on our blog. We recommend buying some pig food and feeding the piglets – great fun!
Share your photos of your adventures with leaves on Facebook and Instagram. Tag us @goodleafiw on both platforms.
Use the hashtags #AdventuresWithLeaves and #Goodleaf and we’ll be sure to see your photos.
We’ll share our favourites on our feeds and there may even be some random spot prizes from time to time!
We can’t wait to see your #AdventuresWithLeaves.
Photos by Goodleaf and Amber Beard