Ecotherapy is the name given to a wide range of treatment programmes which aim to improve your mental and physical well-being through doing outdoor activities in nature.
~ Mind, Making sense of Ecotherapy, 2015

Everybody knows that “Getting some fresh air” is good for you but researchers in Japan have proven its clinical effectiveness. The Japanese practice of Shinrin Yoku, or Forest Bathing, is proven to reduce production of the stress hormone cortisol, improve mood, lower heart rate and blood pressure and  boost the immune system.

Ecotherapy can help you manage an existing mental health problem and could help prevent future periods of ill health, such as an episode of depression.

At Belisama’s Retreat CIC we encourage our guests to gain respite from the modern world, engage with nature and share and learn wilderness living skills.

Back to Basics

At Belisama’s we take respite from the stresses of 21st century civilian life and offer an effective, if temporary, alternative that is more in tune with the values, traditions and standards of the British military. We concentrate on what is essential for happiness: Shelter, fire, water and food. Soldiers are trained to live in the wild, fending for themselves. Give a Veteran a sleeping bag, basha and a fire and they are self-sufficient, feel in control. If you’re a Veteran yourself, you’ll get that.

Taking back that sense of control over your own destiny can combat depression, anger and feelings of anxiety and stress; increase your self-esteem and emotional resilience.

Veterans can visit the Retreat 24/7/365 and enjoy its space either individually or in groups. Visiting Belisama’s Retreat will offer you the opportunity for plenty of fresh air and cardiovascular exercise and increase your stamina and fitness. It is the perfect location for numerous activities:

  • The rich flora and fauna make Belisama’s Retreat the ideal location for nature watching, photography and horticulture;
  • Easy access to the river Ribble offers the opportunity for boating and angling;
  • The experience of our Veterans in wilderness living and exploration provides the opportunity for the shared learning of survival, bushcraft and wild cooking skills;
  • Assisting with woodland management and the delivery of our 20 year plan means you can put your existing skills to good use and learn new ones;
  • Just making new friends and spending time around the camp fire with people of similar life experience can help you realise that you are not alone and help make sense of your own issues.

We run regular bushcraft workshops, “Barn raising” days and social evening around the camp fire. We also organise regular events around the UK where we explore remote forests and other wilderness areas, either for the day or, camping out in hammocks or bashas.

Come and talk to us…


Many of the veterans we engage with need help with issues outwith our area of expertise. With permission, we regularly refer to other veteran’s support providers for help with housing, finance, medical care and benefits.

We are able to offer one to one sessions with a qualified psychotherapist, on site at Belisama’s. These provide a gateway to mental health care without the need to face the outside world until you are ready. For more information please contact us.