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“We know quite enough facts now, what we are still miserably retarded in is in our emotional and aesthetic relationships”  

John Fowles – The Blinded Eye.


This approach provides experiences and activities that are not for review or aimed at a goal but are there to provide a deeper understanding of ourselves and provoke awe and wonder about the natural world. They are designed to provoke our reactions, engage our senses and quiet our minds as we connect with nature and ourselves.

The thematic areas of the project are:

Pure Nature

Artistic Responses e.g. poetry, dance, singing, art, stories etc.

Digital Technology


We often use a narrow definition of aesthetics which relates to a sense of beauty gained through the arts or nature. Here it is used as a broader concept to encompass feelings, perceptions and understanding that arise from emotional experiences in the outdoors.

With ever tighter government controls over formal education and emphasis on business models and content-based learning, aesthetic approaches have been side-lined. It is now more difficult for young people to have access to art, drama, dance and outdoor education as part of the school curriculum and the closure of many youth services means that these fields of learning are not always available through non-formal education.

But why are aesthetic approaches important?

A simple answer is that we are emotional beings and aesthetics are essential in our personal development and our awareness of others and nature. These experiences can provide different ways of learning and may appeal to young people who struggle with traditional classroom learning. They can motivate, inspire and encourage creativity. There is a complex interplay of emotions and thoughts from being and moving in the outdoors. Sensations arise from fresh air, the wind on our faces, the smell of the earth, birdsong, the sound of running water, our heartbeat, movement of our bodies and the beauty of the landscape. Adventurous activities can further challenge us physically and mentally and lead us through a range of emotions. We become more responsive and can make personal connections to nature which are enjoyable, memorable and reduce stress.

We live in a world where we are bombarded with information and there is constant pressure to absorb and process it. The digital age has brought many benefits but also brought stress through promoting competition, commercialisation and an emphasis on self-image. Time in nature frees us from the noise and pressures of everyday living. It allows us to slow down. Through sensory experiences, we can appreciate that we are part of and not apart from nature. It can open our minds, leading to curiosity and creativity.

Geoff Cooper LPIOL


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