Please note we are currently pausing recruitment on the Ecotherapy Programme. We will review this again in January 2024. 

Ecotherapy is the name we give to a series of free groups and activities which promote mental and physical wellbeing by building connections with nature and the outdoors. At St Nicks we offer a wonderful variety of group and activities which are underpinned by one-to one mentoring support. Groups are led by qualified and experienced tutors and are based at our Local Nature Reserve and other Green Corridor sites. You can attend for several months and then choose to continue, or progress to one of St Nicks award-winning volunteering schemes.

Year round groups are Bearing Fruit, Making Tracks, Willow Weaving, Discover Nature, Art-based Creative Writing, Words from the Wild, and Plot to Plate. Over the spring and summer months we also offer Wellies and Wheelbarrows, Nordic Walking and Bushcraft! Find further details about all of our Ecotherapy groups and activities here.

If you would like to find out more or arrange an informal chat before enrolling on any of the groups, contact the Ecotherapy team at

To find out more about the benefits of Ecotherapy at St Nicks, you can download our latest Impact Report for May 2021 – May 2022 (a printable version of the report is available here).

Did you know the St Nicks Ecotherapy Community look after several allotments across the city?

Here is Eithne, our Green Corridor Ecotherapy Officer with some great advice for improving the soil health in your allotment or garden..

7th August was National Allotments week and we have been looking at different ways to improve our soil. Soil is an underrated yet vital feature of our gardens, local green spaces and beyond. If you had any doubts, Freya, our Ecotherapy Officer (Youth Mentor), tells us her favourite nature fact, “A spoonful of soil contains more organisms than there are people on the planet! Soil supports 95% of all our food production so it is very important to look after it.”

Working with the soil you’ve got:

Knowing your soil is a great way to help you decide what plants are best suited to your allotment. Soil testing kits are available from garden centres and there is plenty of advice online to help you determine your soil type.


Composting your green waste and food scraps are a great way to improve soil quality and reduce waste.

Comfrey Tea:

We have been creating our own blend of tea, especially for plants. Comfrey, in addition to being a great material for the compost heap, is high in nutrients, making it the ideal liquid fertilizer. Add comfrey leaves (make sure to wear gloves) to a bucket of water and leave for a few weeks. Strain and water your plants with this easy to make home brew.

Coffee grounds:

Tired of cats using your garden as a litter tray? We’ve been trialling different, ethical methods of deterring cats whilst improving soil quality. In addition to planting strong smelling herbs e.g. rosemary, lavender, and curry (which also doubles as a sensory garden, benefitting health and wellbeing) we have mixed coffee grounds into the earth. Other sources recommend lining your borders with orange peel to deter feline friends.

Crop rotation:

Annually rotating your crops will not only ensure that soil stays fertile but also acts as a natural weed and pest control.

Happy Digging!

Soil Post 2Soil Post 1


Please note we are currently pausing recruitment on the Ecotherapy Programme. We will review this again in January 2024

Full information about all groups including upcoming groups can be found on our Activites page.



You can ask your GP or health professional to refer you to our courses, or you can enquire about joining yourself. Download an enrolment form below and once completed email it to or post it to us at St Nicks Environment Centre, Rawdon Ave, York, YO10 3FW.

St Nicks Ecotherapy Enrolment Form (External Referral)

St Nicks Ecotherapy Enrolment Form (Self-Referral)

"Walking through the gates of St Nicks is like walking into an oasis of acceptance and support. It brings a sense of calm and peace that only nature can provide."

The Ecotherapy project is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, with additional funding from Joseph Rowntree Foundation, York CVS and Two Ridings Community Fund.

The National Lottery Community Fund logo index and centre fingers of a cartoon hand are crossed in the typical