Connecting Actively to Nature

Connecting Actively to Nature (CAN)

CAN is an exciting programme that supports and inspires people aged over fifty-five, in Devon and Torbay, and now Plymouth too thanks to further investment in the programme.

to connect actively to nature.

It specifically focuses on helping people that are not normally active, to access outdoor environments, whether it’s people with health conditions, people who don’t consider themselves fit, people who are isolated, or people who have lots of different commitments and consider themselves too busy to get outdoors.  

Feeling Happier and Healthier

The programme encourages people to get outdoors, amongst our beautiful surroundings and discover the combined health and wellbeing benefits of a more active lifestyle.

Being outside in the fresh air can give you an enormous boost, improving your mood and reducing anxiety. Combine this with including small regular bouts of physical activity, can make a difference to your health.

CAN Activities

There are many ways you can connect to nature and activities are designed to cater for different desires and motivations. Just a few of the exciting activities you could try include walking, gardening, visiting local parks, wild swimming, education in nature, Tai Chi and forest walks.

Our activity groups are designed to suit the ability of someone taking their first steps into activity and leading a healthier lifestyle. The groups, offered across the County, are very sociable, providing an opportunity to meet other people like you in your community.

Visit the Active Devon Activity Finder on our website to find what CAN activities are available in your local area. You can also email for information on your local CAN groups.

CAN Partners and Projects

CAN is a Devon Local Nature Partnership programme, supported by Sport England and managed by Active Devon. Working closely and collaboratively with a wide range of DLNP partners, organisations, groups and individuals we help to establish new opportunities or develop existing ones, so that more people across Devon can get involved.

CAN projects are also key to supporting social prescribing (referrals to local, non-clinical services), being adopted by many GPs, nurses and other primary care professionals.

If you deliver an activity that you think could be part of this great initiative, or you have an idea to start and develop a CAN project, we’d love to here from you. Email

Evidence and Insight

There is a much evidence around the health and wellbeing benefits of connecting with nature, and spending time outdoors. For example, in DEFRA’S’ (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) ‘Evidence Statement’ they found strong evidence linking improved mental health, wellbeing and physical health, to use of green spaces and exposure to the natural world. You’ll find the DEFRA report and lots more on Natural Devon’s website.

Would You Like to Volunteer and Become a CAN Ambassador? 

If you are a keen, passionate, friendly person and would enjoy helping others in your community to get healthy and active, then becoming a CAN Ambassador might be for you! As a CAN Ambassador you will help to welcome people and support them through the early phase of trying an activity outdoors. Does this sound interesting? Visit our CAN Ambassador page or get in touch with us at

Feeling connected to nature is good for you. Being physically active is very good for you. Being Naturally Active is EVEN better