Good wood

What is Good Wood?

An innovative approach to tackling mental ill-health using environmental conservation as a forum for improving mental health, well-being and confidence among participants. It now always runs with a waiting list and has a well-developed referral network.

Who does the project benefit?

Adults experiencing mild to moderate mental ill-health who are living independently within the community.

What are the benefits?

  • Improved mental well-being
  • Reduced social isolation
  • Increased activity and constructive stimuli
  • Improved chances of employment
  • Increased confidence and self-esteem

What are the activities?

  • Tree planting
  • Woodland management
  • Learning about different tree species
  • Environmental art
  • Willow weaving
  • Bush-craft.

When does the project run?

Sessions are held every Wednesday from 11am–3:30pm for 10 week blocks. Participantsd meet up at our ‘green hub’ site in north Edinburgh, from there the group travel by minibus to the different woodland sites that we work on. Good Wood runs throughout the year and participants can attend either one or both of the two blocks – this means either 10 or 20 weeks in total.


“With Good Wood, you can be sure you’ll visit beautiful new places that you didn’t even know existed! Everyone is able to work at their own pace, and there’s space in the woods for you to be as social or as quiet as you want.”

Project leaders

As project leaders, Diarmid and Ruth pitch the sessions to suit the varied needs of the group – from those who’ve never worked in the woods to those with extensive experience. Diarmid and Ruth are there to support participants throughout their journey, with opportunities to meet them before the project starts to discuss any expectations and concerns that they may have. Always caring and considerate, the two bring plenty of tea, coffee, picnic lunches and biscuits out in the field, so participants are well looked after!


The project has been running since 2008 and we’ve worked with over 100 individuals since then and participant and referrer feedback has been really positive . Good Woods has been especially beneficial for those who’ve become socially isolated as a result of their mental ill-health and who seek to re-build their confidence in a friendly and supportive environment.

We believe that support during the project should also be focused on what comes next, and so Ruth and Diarmid are keen to discuss next steps for each participant. There is an opportunity to move onto our ‘Fruitful Woods’ project once a placement with Good Wood has ended - see the below link for more information.

How do you become a participant?

Our participants come through referrals from mental health practitioners which can be made at any time. Whether you’re a potential participant or a mental health practitioner, you can download our Referral Form below to find out how how to make a referral. You can also download the text from this page to present the information to a potential referrer or participant.

For more information, contact Diarmid or Ruth on 0131 332 1555 or

Click here to download the Good Wood Referral Form in pdf format.