It’s the midst of winter, and as we head into January many of us may be experiencing a drop in our mood. Known as the ‘winter blues’, or in extreme cases seasonal defective disorder (SAD), this phenomenon is not uncommon. Shorter daylight hours and cold weather result in a biological response that can leave sufferers sluggish, tired, and even depressed.
As such, we’ve put together 5 top tips for improving your mental health and wellbeing and getting 2023 off to an up-beat start. But first…
Symptoms will vary from person to person, but could include:
If you are experiencing any or all of these affects, then our tips below could really help! (Note: If you are suffering severely, we advise you speak to your GP first.)
Studies have shown that both physical activity and natural light are proven to help sufferers of SAD. Go for an hour long walk at midday, during the peak of the sunlight hours. Why not head to the countryside to get the most out of your activity? Dartmoor National Park has lots of walking routes for the avid adventurer, as well as views that will take your breath away and leave a smile on your face.
Taking up a new, enjoyable pastime is a great way to exercise your brain and boost mental function. Not to mention, it’s fun too! Be as ambitious and creative as you wish. Read that book you heard about, treat yourself to a leisure club membership, take up golfing in the great outdoors, give archery a try, or take up crafting and get creative, the options are endless.
Eating well is another great way to combat those winter mood drops, and January is a common time for health kicks. We don’t promote ‘dieting’ and feel a little indulgence is good for the soul. Instead, seek balance and nutrition. Up those leafy greens and whole grains, and reduce free sugars found in chocolate, biscuits, and fizzy drinks for example.
Foods that may help to lift our moods this winter include:
(Source: healthline.com) We advise you consult a GP before making drastic changes to your diet or exercise regime.
Feelings of loneliness or prolonged isolation can leave us feeling even lower at this, sometimes bleak, time of year. So, you have a great excuse to meet up with family, friends, or even join a social group or local leisure club and get mingling! Talking, whether to friends or a professional, can be deeply therapeutic and help improve our moods. A problem shared is a problem halved as the saying goes. Why not go for afternoon tea together, or go hiking in the moors to soak up some sunlight and vitamin D together as you shoot the breeze?
Studies have long demonstrated that being warm (or comfortable) can reduce depression and improve wellbeing. This doesn’t have to mean cranking up the heating and wrapping up in a duvet – though sometimes this can be nice! Here’s some alternative ways to get temperatures rising:
We’re welcoming in a great new year here at Bovey Castle and have plenty on offer, perfect for those looking for a well-being boost. Available to both our residences and day visitors by prior booking, you’ll find a whole host of action-packed activities and mood-enhancing classes and treatments to enjoy. Call 01647 445000 for more information.
Happy Birthday Dartmoor! 70 years ago, Dartmoor was designated as one of the the UK’s first National Parks, on 30 October 1951! In the same year, the Peak District, Lake District and Snowdonia were also awarded the designation. Dartmoor is a beautiful, wild, and incredible place to visit and explore, why not visit for yourself and find out why we love it here so much.
To celebrate Dartmoor’s 70th Birthday we have come up with the top 7 things to do on Dartmoor in 2021 (there’s so much to do here it was hard choosing just 7), keep reading to find out more…
The rich history of Dartmoor dates back to around 10,000 years ago, where people were visiting Dartmoor to hunt for food and then, from about 4,500 years ago people who were known as the Bronze Age Farmers began to settle down and farm the land. In medieval England, roughly 1,000 years ago the improving climate and increasing population brought many new settlers on Dartmoor. And even today you can still see the medieval landscape the same as it would have looked 700 years ago.
When visiting why not explore the old manor houses, churches, and medieval fields. You can take a short trip from Bovey Castle to the iconic Hound Tor Medieval Village which is a deserted village from the Bronze Age, consisting of a cluster of 13th century stone longhouses or why not visit the restored longhouse in Higher Uppacott?
The history continues with the Victorians, who brought different industries and lots of wealthy people to change the Dartmoor landscape, inviting steam trains to be built with a train line running over the Wray Valley which can still be visited and explored today!
Did you know? Dartmoor was covered in tropical forests for millions of years! Today, Dartmoor is an important reserve for rare species including different varieties of plants and animals, it also has one of the main concentrations of oak woods in the UK.
Visit Dartmoor are celebrating the 70th Birthday of Dartmoor with their ‘Time for Nature Challenge’. Come and test yourself with this interactive nature challenge which was created to help visitors not only explore the wildlife make new discoveries about the world around us. It’s important to recognise how the small changes we can make as individuals have a great impact on protecting the wildlife around us for future generations. Discover how to get involved with the ‘Time for Nature Challenge’ on their website click here.
There’s so much wildlife to enjoy and the Dartmoor Ponies are a species that are iconic to Dartmoor. So iconic that the pony was chosen as the National Park’s logo in 1951. They are an integral part of the moorland landscape and one of the main attractions for visitors to the area, contributing to Dartmoor’s unique character. There are lots of different types of ponies who reside on Dartmoor today, they have been used for many different jobs including pit ponies, shepherding, taking the family to the market and even sometimes carrying the postman to deliver the mail! The smaller ponies are called Shetlands and were originally used in the mining industry. Click here to read more about the Dartmoor Ponies and how to keep yourself and the ponies safe when visiting.
If you want to spook yourself out, discover the many legends and folk lore’s that reside on Dartmoor! These stories are passed on by word of mouth down the generations and are based on true tales. Discover the stories of the past giants, witches, pixies, and evil ones who have inhabited Dartmoor over the years. Learn about ghost stories of Dartmoor too. Click here to discover myths and legends on Dartmoor and learn about all the strange phenomena’s that have prevailed over the years. Delve deep into your imagination and picture the wicked Vixana peering over the top of Vixen Tor or imagine the body of poor Childe the Hunter lying next to the cross which marks where his body was found.
Moor Otters is a feel-good public arts project that attracts young and old for an amazing journey of discovery and making memories. The Moor Otters Arts Trail consists of 81 stunning sculptures of otters with cubs, all designed by local and national artists creating a total of four arts trails. This fun and interactive arts trail encourages visitors to spot the otters on the moor. Ending on Sunday 19th September 2021, where the otters will then be rounded up ready for auction and be available for collectors to purchase their favourite piece. The funds raised are put towards vital conservation projects for the National Park. Find out more about the Moor Otters Arts Trail here.
The granite that belongs to Dartmoor was produced over 300 million years ago and over the past 10,000 years humankind from the Middle Stone Age have shaped the landscape into a beautiful place to live. People have been living on the moor for thousands of years, explore the moors and you can discover traces of past lives etched into the land itself! Together, Mother Nature and Humankind have joint forces to create a stunning landscape full of varied for beautiful nature and wildlife to inhabit. If you’re into rocks and geology, why not visit the top 10 archaeological sites on Dartmoor, discover more by clicking here.
Rivalling Africa’s infamous ‘Big Five’ wildlife (the lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros), Dartmoor’s ‘Little Five’ are infamous on the moorlands and are rare, secretive and fascinating…
First up, the blue ground beetle. The ancient oak woodlands contain moss-covered boulders and tree trunks where this fierce predator hides. The blue ground beetle is one of the largest and rarest beetles in the UK it grows to a whopping one and a half inches and has long metallic blue legs. Next, the cuckoo bird. The cuckoo is a dove sized bird with grey colouring. They spend summer on Dartmoor and migrate 10,000 miles to the Congolese tropical rainforests in winter. The marsh fritillary butterfly is a rare, medium sized butterfly which can be spotted from May to June in the wet grassland on Dartmoor. Otters are infamous to Dartmoor with a medium-dark brown colouring and grow up to a metre in length. Otters are mainly nocturnal and travel large distances of up to 20km of river habitat. And finally, the ash black slug which is renowned as the world’s largest slug and can exceed 20cm! Another nocturnal animal, it can be found in the woodlands on Dartmoor and will feed on fungi and algae along the tree stumps. Did you know? Slugs are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs. Find out more about Dartmoor’s ‘Little Five’ wildlife and how to find it by clicking here.
Sound like fun? If you need more time to ‘Explore More on the Moor’ why not enjoy a fabulous private lodge break with our exclusive offer. Get either five nights for the price of four or seven nights for the price of five! Discover our fabulous lodge offer and book now by clicking here.
If you’re planning a visit to Bovey Castle, then you will know we have the best range of activities for one of the best adventure holidays in Devon this year. From exhilarating off road driving tracks to peaceful visits to our Deer Park we have something for everyone. You will have so much fun at Bovey Castle, why not come and find out for yourself?
We couldn’t run our activities department without our fantastic team, and we are so grateful to have our very own female Bear Grylls right here at Bovey Castle, meet our Activities Manager, Hannah! We asked Hannah a few questions so you could get to know her before visiting, if you’re interested, please keep reading…
Growing up, what did you want to be when you were older?
A dentist or a dancer which I still do.
How did you get into the activities role you are in now?
I had worked here previously in activities from 2008 for 3 years. I had other jobs in between but was looking for an outdoors activity job again years later and the timing was right as they were hiring again. Have been back about 4 years now.
What season is your favourite at Bovey for activities?
Spring because the flowers are just stunning here.
You are a qualified 4×4 driving instructor, tell us about how you got your qualification?
Other instructors and I go to train up at Honiton with Land Rover Experience on their tracks there. I am BORDA British off-road Driving qualified and passed the ‘higher standard’.
What do you do in your spare time? Any interesting hobbies?
I love dance and performing, horse riding and clay shooting. I am a trainee horse trick rider and our team perform in jousting and trick shows up and down the country.
Favourite animal spotting on the estate?
Little baby stoats playing. I love ferrets so it’s a wild version of that.
If you were a Disney character, which one would you be?
Merida from Brave, as she is a strong character and can handle a bow and arrow!
If you could have dinner with one famous person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Dawn French because she’s really funny and likes chocolate a lot!
What are two items on your bucket list?
Long horse-riding holidays and an aeroplane wing walk.
What would be your dream holiday?
Horse riding across Canada staying in ranches as I go.
If you could choose any superpower, what would it be?
To stop time, as there’s never enough hours in the day!
If you could time travel, where would you go?
VE day on 8 May 1945. There were lots of celebrations and street parties to mark the end of the war, everyone would have been in such good spirits.
If you had a magic lamp, what would your three wishes be?
To have massages every day. Never get old. It not to rain.
Now you know more about Hannah, why not come down and meet her? We have so much to do here and Hannah is very excited to meet you! Discover adventure holidays at Bovey Caslte… Plan your stay here or book your activities here.
The best way to unwind this spring is with a refreshing spring staycation on Dartmoor.
Enjoy fabulous sunsets over the rolling Dartmoor hills, long scenic walking routes visiting the quaint South Devon villages and exciting daily activities to get involved with on site at Bovey Castle.
To help you plan your break, we’ve suggested how to discover the best spring staycation in the UK…
If you’re a nature lover, looking for the great outdoors and some fresh air on your spring staycation, get your walking boots on and discover Dartmoor National Park, we have 275 acres on our doorstep or if that’s not enough we can suggest plenty of scenic strolls around the local villages and beyond.
Explore the nearby village of North Bovey on your walk, with beautiful scenic views of quaint white thatched English cottages and a large village green.
For a more challenging walking route, why not try visiting the nearby Castle Drogo with plenty of walking trails with magnificent views over the Teign Gorge and you can even take your pooch! Castle Drogo was constructed between 1911 and 1930, it was the last castle to be built in England, the rich history of the area can be explored on the many walking routes.
Venture out to Exeter, a 30 minute drive away from Bovey Castle, you will find the Princesshay centre for chain stores and if you look to visit the Castle Quarter you will find independent shops. Fore Street is a haven for hip and historic shops in West Quarter where you will find treasures including vintage clothing and electric guitars.
If you’d rather not travel, we have a wonderful selection of gifts, toys and children’s games, books and outdoor attire for sale in our boutique store on site at Bovey Castle. You can browse high end and designer brands all stocked in our store with no need to leave the hotel!
There’s so much to explore on site at our resort, we have an abundance of activities available daily and suitable for all ages. From deer park tours to horse drawn carriage rides, with so much choice there’s no need to leave the hotel grounds…
If you’re ready to explore all that Dartmoor has to offer, why not make the most of your visit with our spring staycation offer?
Our exclusive offer includes one night’s overnight accommodation in a Classic Room, a refreshing glass of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Champagne and dinner in Smith’s Brasserie. After a relaxing night’s sleep, you can also dig into a delicious full English Breakfast.
Choose to extend your stay with us and spend more time exploring with a two night trip and enjoy all of the above plus full afternoon tea with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Champagne.
We look forward to welcoming you to Dartmoor on your spring staycation this year.
One of the best ways to discover Dartmoor National Park is on horseback. With magnificent sweeping views; huge skies and wide-open spaces. Dartmoor offers unrivalled opportunities for horse riding and is perfect for seasoned riders seeking an opportunity for adventure.
We’ve put together an exclusive package with Liberty Trails, specialists in tailor-made horse riding holidays on Dartmoor, to offer an exceptional horseback adventure for enthusiastic, confident riders.
The Saddles, Spa and Castle Stay is a two day, three-night package which can be taken either Monday to Thursday or Friday to Monday.
It includes luxury accommodation here at Bovey Castle, dining in our brasserie and relaxing and reviving treatments in the Spa, with either three nights’ livery for your own horse or with horses hired through Liberty Trails. Riders ride with English saddles and can tailor their riding days according to their fitness and stamina levels.
You’ll spend the first full day exploring the best Dartmoor has to offer on an exhilarating ride; with an experienced Liberty Trails guide.
The second day offers you the opportunity to indulge your passions with a choice of three unique experiences:
Prices start from £1500 per person based on two sharing a Castle Room for three nights with dinner, bed and breakfast included and also two full days in the saddle. Additional days can also be added.
The price for one person booking to come on their own to enjoy an exclusive two- day ride with just their guide and horse for company, start from £1995 for single occupancy of a Castle Room for three nights with dinner, bed and breakfast included.
An exclusive day ride for one person booking to come on their own is £500 per day. For two people booking to ride together is £400 per person. (This excludes dinner, bed and breakfast)
You’ll experience the focussed attention of the Liberty Trails team who will make you the centre of their world for the duration of your stay. This means that dates are their most limited resource and so to get your preferred dates into their diary, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and or call 01822 851463, or visit www.liberty-trails.com.
We all know how expensive foreign holidays can be…and anyway, a staycation is so much fun! Especially with our fun-filled list of the top 10 things to do in Devon for the whole family to enjoy. From enthusiastic adventurers to wildlife explorers and those who just want a relaxing day out – our list gives you plenty of options when visiting this beautiful region.
One of the most impressive sights in Devon has to be Exeter’s cathedral. This gothic-style 12th century cathedral is surrounded by medieval statuary with vaulted roofs. There are free guided tours to the cathedral every day, where you can get an insight into its history.
At Bicton Park, you can enjoy over 60 acres of elegantly landscaped gardens, water features, and tropical plants. This park has also lots to offer children with its miniature village, playgrounds, and climbing camp.
If you love reading murder-mystery books, why not pay a visit to Okehamption Castle, where according to legend, Lady Howard killed all four of her husbands and built a carriage from their bones. This castle is the perfect setting for a crime story and there have even been alleged ghost sightings.
When you visit Devon, a trip to the impressive Saunton Sands Beach is an absolute must. This pet-friendly beach is frequently visited by families and surfers throughout the year due to its long stretch of water.
Devon’s only aqua park, Wake Park, offers something for everyone from Ringo rides to paddle boarding. As the perfect finale to your day, take a relaxing break at the secret lake whilst enjoying the breath-taking countryside views.
At the Art Shed studio, you can paint your own pottery and create a unique gift for your loved one. There is a great variety of pottery to paint on from plates, bowls, and starfish to dragons and much more.
Discover a stunning park set within natural streams and waterfalls at Coombe Martin Wildlife Park. There are many exotic wildlife species and plants to be found including ginkgo trees and the giant redwoods. A visit to this 28-acre woodland should be on top of your things to do in Devon itinerary.
The coolest tourist attraction is located in the market town of Barnstaple. This all-weather trampoline park is the ideal place for young adults to have fun and take part in the exciting wall-to-wall trampoline climb.
When you visit Devon with your young family, a session of paintball game should not go amiss. Just make sure you all wear your full-face safety goggles!
A bicycle hiring centre is located next to Barnstaple Railway Station and is the perfect way to explore this beautiful market town and the Tarka Trail. There are over 120 bikes available to satisfy everyone.
Explore more things to do in Devon.
Eden Hotel Collection is part of Rigby Group (RG) plc.
Bovey Castle Property Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with Company Number 09552863.
Registered office address: c/o Eden Hotel Collection, Bridgeway House, Bridgeway, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6YX
VAT Number: 806641241