Ponder the natural world with these pleasing podcasts.

Connecting with nature reaps scientifically proven rewards. From improved concentration and greater resilience in the face of adversity to increased self-esteem, its benefits are manifold.

Whether you often access the great outdoors or not, nature podcasts are an excellent way of making the connection. (They will do you good even if you listen to them indoors while sitting on the sofa; but it goes without saying that using a nature podcast as a soundtrack for your walk in the wild would be even better.)

A recent article in The Guardian explains their popularity: ‘Hilary Whitehouse, from James Cook University, whose research focus includes environmental education, believes nature-related podcasts are finding an audience due to the rapid rates of animal and plant extinction across the world.’

Tune in to these brilliant nature podcasts and wait for your soul to sing.

BBC Earth Podcast

Each week, this beautifully produced podcast brings us a collection of immersive and creative stories about our world and the creatures, landscapes and elements in it. Now in its third series, it is ‘a podcast the size of a planet’. Listeners find it fascinating, peaceful and utterly transporting.

In Defense Of Plants

Matt Candeias is obsessed by the botanical world. He believes that ‘plants are everything on this planet’. In his wildly popular podcast, he aims to foster in others a love and appreciation of the botanical world. It’s kind of nerdy, but it works. One reviewer says: ‘In Defense of Plants inspires me on a daily basis. The interviewer is an expert at crafting informative and easy-to-listen-to conversations even when covering highly complicated subjects. I hope this podcast continues its great work forever. The world is a better place for it.’

Trees A Crowd

Brought to us by the artist and actor, David Noakes, this podcast celebrates nature and the people who care deeply for it. Each episode comprises an engaging interview with a person – be it a zookeeper, marine biologist or artist – whose focus is on the natural world. Entertaining and varied, it will take your mind to places it rarely goes.

Nature’s Voice

This award-winning podcast from the RSPB brings us features, news and interviews about matters pertaining to wildlife in all its guises – from that in your back garden to that in the far-flung rainforest. Listening to just a few episodes will broaden your comprehension of the natural world – and the peril it faces. Jane Markham – a prolific radio presenter and podcaster whose voice will likely be familiar to you – has an engaging way of making you want to do better for this magical planet of ours.

The National Trust Podcast

With a new episode released every two weeks, this podcast takes us behind the scenes at the gardens, buildings and landscapes that are in the care of The National Trust. Every one is a winner but Episode 68 is particularly brilliant. Entitled ‘A lesson in sensory walking’, it sees Coastal Officer Kate Martin walking some beautiful Shropshire trails with sensory walking expert, Julian Jackson, who teaches her mindfully to absorb the sounds, touch and feel of nature.

Brain On Nature

When Sydney-based Sarah Allely (who hails originally from New Zealand) had a bicycle accident that left her unable to read, write or watch TV, she discovered that her path to recovery was through nature. This narrative, documentary-style podcast follows her quest to find out how the natural environment helped her brain heal. It is gentle, inspirational and insightful – and just as useful to a person suffering from an onslaught of technology in the modern world as it is to a person with a serious injury.

David Attenborough’s Life Stories

In this delightful series, with his uniquely comforting voice, the natural historian and national treasure, David Attenborough, delves deeply into the back stories of creatures and plants from around the world. In one episode, he explains why the rats that we all loathe deserve our respect. In another, he celebrates the migration of butterflies. In another, he recalls what it was like to film in one of the world’s most inaccessible places. His knowledge, experience and passion carry you along from one short episode to the next.

Birdsong FM

For those who wish to immerse themselves completely in the natural world, there is Birdsong FM. Playing the tranquil sounds of the dawn chorus 24/7, this is the ideal antidote to our digital world. Listening to Birdsong FM for even a few minutes is an extraordinarily powerful way to unwind. We urge you to give it a go.

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February 2020
By Becky Ladenburg