Wild Minds

Free outdoor wellbeing activities to support 12-17 year olds

Free nature-based wellbeing activities for 12-17 year olds

Register free for our summer 2022 Wild Minds programmes using our online form below

What is Wild Minds?

Wild Minds was set up in response to the picture of young people's mental health in the UK, at a time when NHS mental health services have experienced increased referrals and wait times for specialist support, making it harder to access support. 

Developed in 2019 by South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge Sport Lakes Trust (which runs Milton Country Park where the course was first hosted), it is supported by a Clinical Psychologist and uses the THRIVE model (a national approach working to transform and integrate children’s mental health services).

  • Free outdoor activities in small groups in a park setting
  • To support 12 to 17 year old's wellbeing 
  • Milton Country Park sessions are for young people ages 15 to 17
  • Wandlebury Country Park sessions are for young people aged 12 to 14
  • A range of outdoor activities make the most of the natural environment
  • Sessions are an hour and a half and take place weekly, for eight weeks
  • The course is run by skilled activity instructors and youth workers

Please note, the age range and venue may change for future groups.

The course is run in partnership with Cambridge Sport Lakes Trust at Milton Country Park, and Find Your Wild at Wandlebury Country Park, and is supported by a Clinical Psychologist.

“Every session that I attended I always noticed a positive difference.” Recent participant

Who can attend?

Wild Minds aims to support young people who are seeking help for mild to moderate mental health difficulties. For instance, young people who are currently experiencing anxiety, low mood, problems with confidence or self-esteem. Young people will need to be able to manage being in a group and taking part in outdoor activities although the sessions are supported by youth workers. 

Who is the course not suitable for?

  • Young people who are already receiving a specialist mental health service, for example, from CAMHS
  • Young people who have high risk behaviours or active suicidal thinking or behaviour
  • Young people with a complex mix of different problems which may need prioritising first, for example, eating disorder, substance abuse difficulties
  • Young people where there are current safeguarding concerns that first need to be prioritised to support stability and safety

Summer 2022 course dates

Start dates may be delayed until a cohort is filled.

Scroll for more
Location Date and time Example activities Age group
Milton Country Park 12th June 2022-31st July 2022 (8 weeks) Bushcraft, mindfulness, campfire cooking, yoga, paddle-boarding, dowsing, fire-lighting, shelter building, survival skills 15 to 17
Wandlebury Country Park
7th June 2022-26th July 2022 (8 weeks)
8th June 2022-27th July 2022 (8 weeks)
Nature walks, art in the woods, earth walks, pond dipping, plant and tree identification and team building games. 12 to 14


For any more information please contact duty.communities@scambs.gov.uk

The project aims to prevent deterioration in the mental health of young people at risk of further mental health problems. It aims to improve mental health through outdoor activities and building confidence and connections with peers in a therapeutic environment. Please read our report [PDF] for a full evaluation from our pilot programmes, ahead of expanding the programme from Spring 2022.

The course is free to attend, and any equipment you will need for the activities will be provided for free. You should make sure to dress appropriately for spending time outdoors (or on the water where relevant).

You should make sure to dress appropriately for spending time outdoors – whether in cold or wet weather, or in really warm temperatures. If the session includes water sports (paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking or similar) it is advisable to wear the kind of clothing that dries quickly (gym wear or shorts and a t-shirt). Please also bring a towel and a change of clothing just in case.

The Park has cosy shelters and fire pits which mean the course can take place even in bad weather. There will be a programme of activities available for people who have registered, but activities can be varied and lead by the weather, as well as the mood of the group and the time of year.

Referrals can be made via YOUnited by a GP or any professional working with children or young people.  Alternatively, young people can self-refer for this free course. The easiest way to do this is to fill in our online form.

If you are a guardian, teacher, youth worker or health professional who would like to refer a young person (aged 12-17) for the course, please fill in our online form.



Wild Minds referral form

Do you support teenagers/young people with mild anxiety, low mood or self-esteem issues?

We want to support parents, pastoral teams, teachers, youth workers, link workers and other professionals to find out more about referring young people to Wild Minds.

Watch our webinar to find out more

A webinar run by the clinical psychologist who supports the sessions. This webinar was held on Wednesday 5 May 2021, before the course expanded its age range and number of locations. If you missed it, or want to find out more, watch the video below.


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