Let Nature Feed Your SensesLet Nature Feed Your Senses

Sensory-rich visits have been opening up farms and nature reserves across England children from inner city schools, people with learning disabilities and sensory impairments, and older people with dementia. Through hands-on experience, visitors have been able to touch, smell, see, hear and taste food and nature in a safe, accessible environment.

 

"Building rich and long lasting connections with nature takes people beyond just visiting the natural world to becoming emotionally connected with it."
(Jen Bartlett, LNFYS Project Manager)

 

Older and younger people engage their senses during farm visits

Let Nature Feed Your Senses is a partnership between the Sensory Trust and LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming). It ran as a flagship project from 2010 - 2014 as part of Natural England's Access to Nature programme, funded by the Big Lottery Fund's Changing Spaces programme. Our national activity programme has now finished, but the legacy of materials and networks lives on through our Let Nature Feed Your Senses website and in our other project work.

Evidence of benefits

The health benefits of being out in the fresh air are well documented, and yet many people find it difficult to gain access to the countryside because of age, disability or social circumstances. Let Nature Feed Your Senses set out to change that. The University of Essex and New Economics Foundation helped us evaluate the work and demonstrate a rich mix of benefits, as shown in the downloadable evaluation reports.

Man and cow staring at each otherChildren looking at a bug on a farmer's handHandheld magnifyling glass gives a close view of plants in a sensory activity

“The visit gave them a chance to experience things that they had never experienced before such as feeding the cows, running in an open field and so on. It also really helped them develop a much better understanding of the environment and living things. All the teachers who took part said that the visit had quite simply been the best visit we had ever taken children on. The children have all been asking when we can we go back!”

The benefits of the visits last far beyond the day, and the activities on the visit can form the basis for group work, reminiscence, conversation and other projects. After one visit a group leader told us: “they all talked non-stop about it on the way home; even a little girl who was an elective mute at school until the beginning of this school year.”

Sensory activities

Let Nature Feed Your Senses was a great opportunity to apply our experience of using sensory engagement outdoors to the world of farming, thanks to LEAF's extensive and enthusiastic network of farms. Children in Need funding supported additional sensory materials.

Our sensory engagement work continues to develop through projects like SNAP (Sensory Nature, Adventure and Play) and Sensory Nature Hubs and we have free resources and activities to download.

A collection of images showing children interacting with nature

On film

Words can't always convey the richness of the experiences that happened through the LNFYS project and it's fortunate that we were able to capture so much through film. You can find the collection on the Let Nature Feed Your Senses channel on youtube.

Animate it iconWe also had the good fortune to work with Aardman to run a farmyard sound animation competition with the challenge to create an animation from a rich mix of farmyard sounds. What an incredible collection of entries came in! Take a look at one of the winners...

12-16 years old: Lucy Dalton

 

Big Lottery FundNatural EnglandLEAF

Nature, dementia and sensory connections

Three older women enjoying a sensory trail tractor ride around a farm

Case study about the value of sensory-rich visits for people living with dementia - download pdf (2,069kb)

Creative Spaces - see how our project is using nature to enhance wellbeing of people living with dementia and find links to free resources and activities.

Children and learning through sensory experiences

Young children running after a rooster

SNAP (Sensory Nature, Adventure and Play) - see how our project is engaging children and their families through sensory nature activities and find links to ideas and information.

Engaging the Senses - how sensory rich farm visits inspire, connect and educate children with disabilities

Sensory learning and our environment - how we learn through our senses and connect with our environment

Go Outside and Play - the benefits of play and time outdoors

John Craven talks about the value of sensory rich visits in our 'Get Involved' film