Green Exercise Prescription for Mount Congreve

Waterford Health Park offers visitors a prescription with a difference for a walk at globally-regarded Mount Congreve Gardens


Pictured above are Ray Sinnott Estate Manager of Mount Congreve Gardens and Dr. Mark Rowe MD Waterford Health Park

Visitors to the Waterford Health Park can pick up a prescription with a difference this year – one offering free entry for a walk at the nearby Mount Congreve Gardens that have been formally recognised in the United States as a ‘Great Garden of the World’.

The multiple award-winning primary care campus has teamed up with Mount Congreve for 2016 so that visitors to Waterford Health Park can enjoy the 70 acres of woodland gardens and the four acre walled garden at Mount Congreve.

At the gardens which are close to the river Suir and just outside Waterford city, walkers can enjoy spectacular views with over 3,000 trees and shrubs, more than 2,000 Rhododendrons, 1,500 herbaceous plants, 600 Camellias, 300 Acer cultivars, 600 conifers and 250 climbers.

Dr Mark Rowe – the family doctor, writer and speaker who established Waterford Health Park – said of the initiative: “To help promote community health and wellbeing, we’re delighted to combine with the great team at Mount Congreve Gardens to offer this one-of-a-kind ‘prescription’ for what might just be one of the best medicines of all – a walk in the wonderful outdoors. So many people in Waterford and the southeast haven’t yet visited the gem on our doorstep that is Mount Congreve and this is our way of encouraging them to put that right at no cost.

“As humans, we are hardwired to connect with nature – something termed biophilia. There is a growing body of scientific evidence to support what we’ve probably all always instinctively known – walking outdoors in a nice environment is great for your physical health, psychological fitness and emotional wellbeing. I call it ‘green exercise’. It’s a great way to reduce stress and recharge, lower blood pressure and boost mood, literally helping you feel and work better. Even personal relationships benefit from connecting with nature. Phytoncides secreted from plants and trees can support your white blood cells to strengthen your immune system. This is something that was central to our design of Waterford Health Park seven years ago and prompted us to create a healing garden that has a very special place at the heart of our community facility.”

Ray Sinnott, Estate Manager, Mount Congreve, added: “We’re delighted to partner with Waterford Health Park on this innovative initiative that recognises just what a boost it can be to spend time in the outdoors and there’s nowhere better to do that than at the gardens in Mount Congreve. This is a great time of the year here and there are spectacular colours and displays to enjoy. We’re open from Thursday-Sunday every week and on Bank Holidays from 11am-5.30pm with the last entry to the gardens at 4.30pm. We look forward to welcoming many new and returning visitors in the months ahead.”