Take Root


Take Root

Photo by Helena Dolby for Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust

What is Take Root?

With thanks to funding from the National Lottery Community Fund and HM Government, Kent Wildlife Trust is delighted to launch the Take Root project.

Take Root is a two-year project running until December 2020. The project is a social prescribing initiative, helping people to improve their health and wellbeing by connecting them to their community and with nature, by taking part in conservation-based programmes, walks and workshops.

Gardening for wildlife smelling flowers, photo by Tom Marshall

Photo by Tom Marshall

What is social prescribing?

Social prescribing involves helping patients to improve their health, wellbeing and social welfare by connecting them to community services, such as local charities or groups, as opposed to clinical services. We will be working with project partners West Kent Mind, Involve Kent and One You at Sevenoaks District Council, who will signpost and refer individuals to Take Root.

Nature is good for you

The natural world has an impact on individual wellbeing – from flood prevention, clean air and water to having a peaceful natural space to be active. A connection with nature can have a significant positive impact including a reduction in stress and anxiety; increased positive mood, self- esteem and resilience; and increased feelings of social inclusion.

People with easy access to nature are three times more likely to be active, and 40% less likely to become overweight, which in turn can reduce the risk of other diseases and illnesses such as diabetes and some cancers. Taking notice of nature can encourage us to be more mindful and aware.  Incorporating the five ways to wellbeing (Connect, Take Notice, Be Active, Learn and Give) into your life can lead to improved health and wellbeing…a Wilder Wellbeing.

Woodland Walk - © Zsuzsanna Bird

Woodland Walk - © Zsuzsanna Bird

Loneliness can be a contributing factor to a decrease in health and wellbeing. There are 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK, which can go 5 or 6 days without seeing anyone (Age UK). In some parts of Sevenoaks, there is a high or very high risk of loneliness, according to the Age UK loneliness map. Take Root will give an opportunity to meet new people and connect with nature – both proven to improve health and wellbeing.

Want to get involved?

This project is all about social prescribing, so to get involved you must fill out our referral form.

If you are not connected with any of the partner organisations and would like to get involved with the project, you can refer yourself to the project by downloading and returning the form below to Vicky.Aitkenhead@kentwildlife.org.uk.

Vicky and Kirsty can’t wait to meet you all!

The Programmes

You can take a look at the programmes and activities for the project by clicking the expandable links below.

Project Programme 2019

Each programme is made up of 6 weekly sessions. Wednesday morning, 10am – 12pm. Meet at Sevenoaks Nature Reserve, Bradbourne Vale Road, TN13 3DH – free car park. Please wear sensible clothing as we will be outdoors as much as possible.

Programme 1 – Noticing Nature and Mindfulness

3rd April – 8th May

For the beginning of the Take Root project, we will have a gentle introduction to the Sevenoaks reserve – but taking our time and really noticing the beauty, the sounds, the feel and the atmosphere of the reserve. This will include birdwatching, listening exercises, sketching, yoga, moth ID and being in the present moment.

Programme 2 – Wildlife Monitoring

5th June – 10th July

A major part of our conservation work is to monitor the wildlife on our reserves, as this can show us that our hard work managing the reserves is paying off. Each week we will have a different focus; butterflies, dragonflies, birds, water vole, botany and moths. This is a great way to learn the names of species, ID, the beauty of our British wildlife, and how nature is interlinked to our habitat management.

Programme 3 – Wildlife Gardening

14th August – 18th September

We will be working in the two wildlife gardens at Sevenoaks, learning how to garden with wildlife in mind. You will hopefully pick up some handy tips to use in your own gardens; learning about pollinator-friendly plants, animal shelters, bird feeding, organic management, composting and how this will attract wildlife to the garden. There will be a practical element to this programme, giving the opportunity for hands-on learning.

Programme 4 – Practical Conservation

9th October – 13th November

This will be a practical programme, getting involved with managing the habitats at Sevenoaks. We will be doing scrub cutting, to improve the woodland areas and protect the rare lichen and moss communities. You can do as little or as much of the physical work as you like, and tools will be provided. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear, and bring along some refreshments to keep yourself hydrated.

Walks, Events and Workshops 2019

Meet at Sevenoaks Nature Reserve, Bradbourne Vale Road, TN13 3DH – free car park. Please wear sensible clothing as we will be outdoors as much as possible.

Health Walks

30th May, 25th July, 26th September, 28th November. Meet at 10am

Health walks were developed to aid people to meet the recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. You’ll get your heart pumping, your lungs oxygenated and your cheeks rosy, as well as being able to have a chat with fellow walkers. These are inclusive walks so no matter your speed, you will always have company. It’s whatever moderate is to you!

Noticing Nature Walks

25th April, 27th June, 29th August, 24th October, 19th December. Meet at 10am

These walks take a slower pace – allowing us to notice our surroundings, and truly admire the beauty of nature. We’ll be listening to natural sounds, watching the wildlife, and maybe even stop to do some sketching.

Coffee Mornings

15th May, 7th August, 20th November. Meet at 11am

Join your fellow Take Root-ers for a drink and a chat at the Visitor Centre – or perhaps even in the wildlife garden if the weather is kind! A range of hot drinks, cold drinks and snacks are available to buy from the visitor centre. Starting at 10am.


Confidence building workshop – 1st August.  More information to follow!

Wild About Gardens Adviser workshop – 17th October. Learn to become a Wildlife Garden advisor for our Wild About Gardens Scheme. For more information – just ask.


Natural Christmas decorations – 10th December. Create 100% plastic free natural Christmas decorations. They look great and are fantastic for the environment. More information to follow.

The People

Get to know the team behind the project.

Vicky Aitkenhead – Nature and Wellbeing Officer and Take Root Project Manager

Vicky Aitkenhead

Vicky Aitkenhead

I’ve been with Kent Wildlife Trust for 4 years now, joining as a warden, before moving into the Nature and Wellbeing role in July 2018.

Whilst a warden in Ashford, I was the Older and Out There Project Officer, working with groups with additional access requirements to engage with nature, resulting in Kent Wildlife Trust winning the Kent Dementia Friendly Award – I loved this project and particularly doing the wildlife gardening workshops with people with dementia.

I am Mental Health First Aid trained, and the mental health champion at the Trust. I have a keen interest in birds and moths, and am looking forward to sharing this with you all!

Kirsty Lee – Take Root Project Officer

Kirsty Lee – Take Root Project Officer

I began my journey at Kent Wildlife Trust as a voluntary trainee warden, then progressing to a contract warden. I have experience as an Education Tutor, volunteered with the NHS on the Open Dialogue programme and am trained as a Holistic Therapist. I love butterflies and am great at IDing them!

Take Root funder logos - National Lottery Community Fund & HM Government