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A decade ago, author Emma Mitchell began to seek out colour during midwinter to alleviate her SAD (seasonal adjustment disorder) symptoms. After making the move from city to countryside Emma began to take walks around her new home, collecting, drawing and photographing bits of nature as she went, each walk lifting her mood. Her book The Wild Remedy is a diary of her nature walks with beautiful pictures of illustrations, flat lays of nature collections and photographs.

A study has found that walks in nature are associated with decreased levels of anxiety and bad moods. Being in a green environment improved self-esteem and the presence of water made the positive effects even stronger. What more reason do you need to get out and make your own nature collection?

There are beautiful bits and bobs to be found whatever the season. The kids will love it. Old leaves, eggshells, fluffy catkin, leaf skeletons, driftwood…there are so many treasures to be found. Don’t live in the countryside? Not a problem, here are some YHAs ideal for fantastic foraging.

YHA Treyarnon Bay

Treyarnon Bay exterior

Just 50 metres from the sea and offering some of the best coastal views of any YHA hostel, YHA Treyarnon Bay is a lively, mid-sized hostel on the north Cornwall coast. Treyarnon Bay has a popular, familyfriendly beach, a perfect place to start a shell collection, and the ever-popular seaside town of Padstow is just four miles away.

YHA Ambleside

YHA Ambleside over the jetty

Situated on the shores of Windermere, this stylish hostel offers an unbeatable location, stunning views and stateofthe-art facilities for families, groups and solo travellers to enjoy. In the centre of the Lake District National Park and within walking distance of the charming village of Ambleside, YHA Ambleside gives you easy access to prime walking and collecting of some of nature’s riches in the Lake District.

YHA Blaxhall

YHA Blaxhall

YHA Blaxhall is the ideal base for exploring everything that the Suffolk coast has to offer. Comfortable and inviting, this former school building is at the heart of the village, which sits on the edge of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, one of the best areas for wildlife watching in the whole of Britain which means there will be ample natural treasures to be found. Once you’ve walked your wellies off, cosy up with a book in our quiet lounge, or relax on our garden picnic benches and enjoy being surrounded by spring flowers.

To find out more about A Wild Remedy go to Emma’s Twitter @silverpebble. Whilst there, follow us on Twitter too @YHAOfficial.

Written by Jo Avery

Jo works in YHA's communications team, writing about travel and adventures for all. She loves curling up with a good book and a large mug of tea, ambling through wheat fields in Derbyshire with her family and dog and holidaying beside the seaside.

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