These are the places that make us

Where’s the place that makes you feel alive? The place you escape to when you’re stressed? The place you spend precious time with loved ones? These are the places that make us who we are, and these are the stories that will show you why

Audrey takes in the view at Crom

Crom makes me feel uplifted; it’s an escape from the everyday

Audrey, Crom

When Audrey wants to relax and escape from the pressures of work and her farming life, she takes her two children and their dogs to Crom Estate in Northern Ireland. At Crom, Audrey has found somewhere she feels uplifted, content and at home.

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On the way to the summit at Mam Tor

‘Mam Tor has inspired courage and determination in me’

Yvonne, Mam Tor

Reaching the summit of Mam Tor for the first time had a profound effect on Yvonne. Not only did it test her strength and courage, it took her back to her childhood in Jamaica. Yvonne is now a regular visitor, and the quiet stillness of the landscape never fails to bring her peace.

Sebastian and Isaac with a small den made of sticks

'At Waddesdon they're free to play and just be children'

Sebastian and Isaac, Waddesdon Manor

Young brothers Sebastian and Isaac have been visiting Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire since they were born. It’s been the place they've shared some of their best childhood adventures: running wild along the trails, learning names of trees and visiting their favourite bird in the aviary.

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Don & Jenny together at Wimpole Home Farm

'It has brought back the man I married'

Don and Jenny, Wimpole Estate

Retirement hasn’t come easy for ex-farmer Don and his wife of 50 years Jenny. With so much time spent on the farm, Don had few hobbies. He was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia five years ago. Thanks to the Farming Memories Group at Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire, Don is able to share his farming passion with like-minded people and Jenny has re-discovered the man she married.

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Margaret at Sutton House, London

'We're not related by blood but we are a family'

Margaret, Sutton House

Margaret has found friendship and fun at Sutton House in East London. As part a group for the over 55s, Margaret keeps busy and shares her love of dancing, socialising and art.

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Sylvia taking a well earned rest on Great Gable

'For all of my happy times, my sad times, Gable's been there'

Sylvia, Great Gable

For 50 years Sylvia has been climbing Great Gable in the Lake District. It has been a constant in her life, so much so that it feels like it is her mountain. Her grandchildren even refer to it as ‘granny’s mountain.’ Following her cancer diagnosis the one thing Sylvia wanted to achieve, was to climb Great Gable again. Along with her brother Robert, she fulfils her dream and continues her deep connection to this special place.

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Brigitte weaving her willow tunnel, Rainham Hall, London

'Children run happily through my creation and that's amazing'

Brigitte, Rainham Hall

Originally from Hungary, Brigitte didn’t feel connected to London until she had her baby. Like many mothers, her local property was a go-to place to spend time with her baby daughter. A chance encounter with the garden team transformed Brigitte’s connection to her new home town, and has allowed her to develop a legacy for the benefit of visitors today and long into the future.

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Ann-Marie at Claydon House

'Places like this help children to think big'

Ann-Marie, Claydon

Visiting Claydon as a child has had a lasting effect on Ann-Marie’s life. Growing up with the influence of Florence Nightingale and her desire to help others inspired Ann-Marie to think big and realise that she could do anything she wanted. Now when she visits it is stories of her childhood visits that she shares with her friends and their grandchildren – sowing the seeds of inspiration among future generations.

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Lucy planning the wildflower garden, Morden Hall Park

'All kids should be involved in something like this'

Lucy, Morden Hall Park

With no garden, and living in a big city, Lucy used to spend most of her time indoors. Now she is designing wildflower meadows with the rangers at Modern Hall Park. She works with other young people to make a difference to her local green space – and protect the wildlife that lives there.

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Trevor passes on his enthusiasm for birdwatching with his grandchildren

'Felbrigg is a special place. Sharing that with my grandkids has been a real joy'

Trevor, Felbrigg Hall

At Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk, birdwatcher Trevor and his grandkids have some adventuring to do. Stomping along muddy tracks and peering through binoculars, the family bonds over a shared love of nature. As Trevor says: ‘What’s the point in seeing a really nice, rare bird if you can’t share it with somebody else?’

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Mal at Rhossili Bay on the Gower Peninsula

'The Gower Peninsula makes me feel alive'

Mal, The Gower

Today Mal scales the highest peaks in Wales, but 21 years ago his story was very different. After a work accident, it took Mal five years to walk even 200 metres. Now, thanks to his walking group, he's healed some of the emotional and physical scars.

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Rowan and Fred took their first steps at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

'It’s where both Rowan and Fred took their first steps'

Stuart and Rebecca, Dunham Massey

For Police Officers, Stuart and Rebecca, finding quality family time with their two young boys, can be hard. Working shifts or weekends, means that any time together is precious. At their local property, Dunham Massey, they can play with their sons and create treasured family memories.

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Julie at Mount Stewart, Northern Ireland

'It's a sense of calm…you can feel your shoulders drop'

Julie, Mount Stewart

Mount Stewart holds a special place in Julie’s heart and family. Discovering it shortly after losing her mother and feeling alone, she found spending time among nature helped her focus on her health and wellbeing; with the lake proving a particular source of tranquility. Now married and with two young children, Mount Stewart has become a place of happiness for the whole family.

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Peter at Osterley Park, London

'The best thing about Osterley is communicating with other people'

Peter, Osterley Park

Taking early retirement was a difficult life change for Peter. He missed the routine of going to work, and the connections and friendships he had there. All this changed when Peter got his dogs. Through regular walks at Osterley Park in west London he gets to socialise with other walkers, which is a source of great joy and happiness for him.

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After the death of her husband June found comfort and friendship at Lanhydrock

'I really don't know what I'd do if I didn't have such a place'

June, Lanhydrock

The death of June’s husband left a hole in her life. Struggling between loneliness and the well-meaning sympathy of people when she did see them, June found solace in the woods at Lanhydrock, Cornwall. It was here that June and her puppy found comfort and happiness with fellow dog walkers, who are now her friends.

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John and Keaton exploring Fingle Wood, Devon

'There's been a change in Keaton's behaviour. I think that's come from him being in nature'

John and Keaton, Fingle Woods

As someone who didn’t like school himself, John now a teacher at a small independent school, knew how to help Keaton. With a passion for nearby Fingle Woods, John took his pupil Keaton there, to experience how the sounds of the river flowing and wind rustling in the leaves could help him feel calm and able to cope with his anger.

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Spending time at Saddlescombe Farm helped Emma feel confident again

'Saddlescombe Farm has been instrumental in my recovery'

Emma, Saddlescombe Farm

Following a period of ill health Emma’s doctor encouraged her love of nature, recommending she attend the Grow Project at Saddlescombe Farm in West Sussex. Designed to improve people’s wellbeing through time spent outdoors, Emma credits the improvement in her health with the sense of calm she gets working on the farm. What began as a one week course has become a much deeper connection to the farm that has changed her life.

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Stephen and friends in the grounds of Lanhydrock, Cornwall

'After two or three months of the walks I started to feel better. It turned my life around'

Stephen, Lanhydrock

Following redundancy, Stephen’s life took a turn for the worse. After years spent working outside on a farm, Stephen retreated inside. To add to this, he was diagnosed with dementia, increasing his feelings of unhappiness. However, since Stephen started his walking group, which frequently visits Lanhydrock, his life has changed, being once again filled with fresh air and good company.

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The science behind the stories 

New research has strengthened the science behind the emotional ties we have with the places that we love. As a conservation charity, with the help of our supporters, we look after the places that we believe bring us genuine happiness and wellbeing, but now there’s scientific proof that having a place you love has a positive impact on your wellbeing.

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What places mean to people

  • 9 / 10 people would feel upset if their meaningful place was lost
  • 53% say special places are an escape from everyday life
  • 3 in 4 people want to share their favourite place with loved ones

Discover the place that makes you

From the place a child takes their first steps to a spot of calm and tranquillity, we all make special connections with different places. These are the places that make us who we are.