Skip to main content

'Rewilding Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr' team, sows seeds for hopeful wellbeing and nature benefits

Friday 16th June

Research Assistants from Cardiff University’s Pharmabees team, staff members and community volunteers from Aneurin Bevan University Health have sown new wildflower seeds at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr (YYF)’s hospital grounds as part of ‘Rewilding Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr’.


Hospitals can be stressful places not only for patients but staff too. ‘Rewilding Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr’ is an initiative to help relieve stress and improve wellbeing at the same time as providing environmental benefits by rewilding the hospital site.

Phoebe Nicklin, Research Assistant at Cardiff University and Pharmabees team member said: “This is an ongoing project with patients, visitors and staff, getting people involved for their wellbeing. We’re really hoping on two accounts to see the environmental benefits of the biodiverse landscape, and we’re hoping to see the wellbeing benefits of the visitors, the staff, the patients, everybody who comes here.”

Encouraging activity in green spaces like these rewilded areas provides numerous potential mental health and physical health benefits. This includes a reduction in stress and negative emotions. It can also help with heart disease conditions and lower rates of obesity and levels of type 2 diabetes. It also provides a social connection and exercise activity benefit to staff and volunteers who help maintain these areas and sow seeds.

NHS Staff have given feedback comments describing how the green spaces. One said it makes them feel “refreshed, recharged and re-energised” and another said it “makes you feel happy and positive”.

Amongst the placed benches and signs for staff around the site, it’s likely for staff and visitors to often see buttercups, oxeye daisies, white campions, bluebells, wild sweet peas, cowslip and your common dandelion.

Encouraging wildflower areas over cultivated land provides biodiversity and an essential food source and habitat. This is especially apparent for pollinators such as bees, of which YYF also has its own hive of bees providing further benefits for the area.

In collaboration with Beeone, a hive also sits on the hospital site, also maintained by Pharmabees team and hospital staff on their breaks and in their spare time. The hive is estimated to hold over 35,000 bees with the intention that the project can be self-sufficient with staff volunteers looking after the wildflowers that feed the bees and the bees themselves.

Jane Thornton, Hospital Manager at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr said: “We’re all trying to work together to build a much greener Wales. It’s lovely because we’re getting more and more involved. It’s encouraging people from different areas of the hospital to come out and work together and have a bit of fun at lunch time.”

According to research by the Grassland Trust, grasslands can draw down and store up to 3 tonnes more carbon per hectare (10,000m squared) each year than standard turf.

YYF forms part of the 133 hectares of land used by the health board, presenting a significant example for development towards wellbeing & environmental benefits across Gwent.