'Healthy Woods & Healthy People' was created by Blarbuie Woodland Enterprise to identify the impact that the regeneration of the woodland may have on the health and well-being its users.
Situated on the site of the Argyll and Bute Psychiatric Hospital, the woodlands were originally created as an outdoor resource for recreation. Over time, as the hospital underwent change, the woodlands became derelict, and inaccessible. In 2002, a partnership was formed between Reforesting Scotland, Argyll Green Woodworkers Association, NHS, Scottish Association for Mental Health, and Lochgilphead Community Council to regenerate the woodland area.
The vision was that Blarbuie Woodland would be for the benefit of people who use health and social services in Mid Argyll and beyond, plus all people, young and old, living in or visiting the area. Community participation was recognised as the key to protecting the woods, making them accessible to everyone and creating opportunities for people to learn about plants and wildlife, and local history.
Right from the beginning there was a lot of work to be done, restoring and enhancing the two main strips of woodland - the Low Wood and the High Wood. Groups, including some of those living in the hospital, worked on paths, on woodland management, on timber construction, on signage and on environmental education. As part of this work, the project offered supervised training and voluntary opportunities.
Right from the start, the project helped people to gain in health, happiness, knowledge and skills. The film includes sound clips from those interviewed whilst walking in the woods, and identifies the possible benefits for mental health and well-being that recreational activity in woodland areas provides.