Somerset

Woodland PTSD retreat given Prince Harry boost

Nick Goldsmith
Image caption The Woodland Warriors retreat is based on land in Somerset

A grant from a Prince Harry-supported charity has meant a woodland retreat to help ex-military and emergency services people cope with PTSD can expand.

The cash from the Endeavour Fund should mean Woodland Warriors could guarantee places for 72 people next year.

It was set up by former marine Nick Goldsmith and his wife Louise in a Somerset woodland bought by the pair.

One user, Jimmy, said the retreat gave him a "nice feeling" with "no yelling, nothing nasty around the corner".

It was not known how much the grant would be worth financially but it would provide the spaces to help treat service personnel.

Image caption The project has been backed by a charity supported by Prince Harry

The woodland programme has offered activities including "foraging, tracking, making fire and shelters, archery, wild cooking, natural history and woodland management".

It was founded in 2016 by Mr Goldsmith and his wife Louise, who works for Avon and Somerset Police, on land they had bought four years previously.

Mr Goldsmith was a marine for 11 years, and completed four tours of Afghanistan as a commando but said he drank heavily and suffered from blackouts and memory loss later.

"Seven months between being diagnosed and actually getting into a recovery centre and seven months at absolute lowest point," he said.

"The only thing that kept me going is being exactly where we're stood now, staring into that fire [and] working on the land… just trying to find a way to switch it off."

You can see more on this story on Inside Out on BBC One West on Monday at 19:30 BST or afterwards on the iPlayer.

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