'Starting my rural career was one of the best things I've done' - Q&A with Thorp Perrow Arboretum curator

Faith Douglas works as curator of Thorp Perrow Arboretum in Bedale.

Faith Douglas, curator of Thorp Perrow Arboretum in Bedale. Picture by Ken Nash/Nash Photography.

Aged 42, she lives nearby and also runs her own business, Forest Bathing UK. She is one of the speakers at the Women In Farming Conference at Pavilions of Harrogate on Tuesday, an event held by the Yorkshire Rural Support Network - part of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.

Ahead of this week's conference date, Ms Douglas answered our questions.

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What do you enjoy most about what you do? I enjoy all the work I do, I feel very lucky that I get to follow my passions. The Arboretum is the most beautiful place to work and I get to see peoples interactions all the time with natures beautiful surroundings.

Thorp Perrow Arboretum, Bedale. Picture by Simon Hulme.

I love teaching people very simple ways to reconnect with nature, its almost like we need permission to slow down and do something nice and beneficial for ourselves.

I love seeing the change in the way people feel once they’ve simply gone for a walk, they’ve switched their senses on, their mind calms and they have the realisation that actually its all around us.

Why is a rural career a fulfilling one? I came from a career in nursing, a fast paced, stressful job in a town. I have always used the countryside and nature as my therapy, to process the day I’ve had or to gather my thoughts and feelings.

Changing my career was one of the best things I have ever done. My life and the life of my children has been greatly enhanced by that change.

Nature is so beautiful if we take the time to notice it, and actually it supports us. I literally work, live and breathe what helps keep me happy and healthy.

What will your message be at the Women In Farming Conference? My message will be one of wellbeing. Women work hard at what they do. They aren’t just women who work, they are mothers, they are carers, they are wives, they are home makers - they are generally all of those things and more and its very easy for women to put themselves at the bottom of the ever growing pile.

I hope to share with the wonderful women in farming just how they can live with their environment in a way that benefits them solely, so that they be encouraged to take the time needed to look after themselves in a way that fits with a rural lifestyle.

The knock-on effects being not just building a connection with your environment but a better connection with other people but most importantly a better connection with themselves.

About the conference

This week's Women In Farming conference will also include guest talks from John Pinches who is Barclays regional agricultural director for the North East, Yorkshire and Scottish Borders; Becky Waring, owner of Cherry View Milk near Beverley; Emma Mosey, co-owner of

Minskip Farm Shop near Boroughbridge, and Sophie Throup, head of senior corporate affairs for agriculture at Bradford-based Morrisons.

Kate Dale, co-ordinator of the Yorkshire Rural Support Network, said: “During yet another year of uncertainty for both individuals and businesses, the day offers a welcome diversion from politics to hear from those who are ‘keeping calm and carrying on’ in true Yorkshire style.

"Women can often be the motivators for change and can play a pivotal role in offering an alternative dimension."