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7 reasons to visit The Enchanted Forest this Autumn

The Enchanted Forest 2018 got off to a wild and wonderful start earlier this month with the launch of this year’s Of The Wild theme at Faskally Wood near Pitlochry.

Showcasing the autumnal beauty of Highland Perthshire, the sound and light spectacular released a record 80,000 tickets for its extended five-week run (Oct 6 – Nov 4).

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Inspired by the hidden beauty of Highland Perthshire’s wild woods, the multi-award-winning creative team has developed a show rooted in nature and full of surprises.

This year’s show combines breath-taking visuals, state-of-the-art technologies and a powerful musical score against a backdrop of one of Scotland’s most breathtaking woodland locations.

Here are 7 good reasons to visit:

  1. Spend time outdoors in nature & boost your wellbeing – The Enchanted Forest works closely with Forestry Commission Scotland to enhance the natural features of the forest and encourage more people to embrace Scotland’s woodlands.

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2. Experience the ultimate in forest bathing – The forest contains 25 recorded species of tree, a handful of which are native: Scots Pine, Silver and Downy Birch, Ash, Oak, Rowan, Common Alder, Hazel, and Bird Cherry. The oldest known tree is around 200-225 years old.

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3. Help sustain local charitiesOutdoor Access Trust for Scotland, The Birks Cinema Trust and Blairgowrie Riding for Disabled, which has been faced with closure, have been confirmed as the official charity partners for 2018. These organisations will not only benefit financially but will be promoted extensively during the event.

Enchanted Forest 2018

4. Support Scottish tourism – It’s estimated The Enchanted Forest’s impact on the local tourism economy is around £3 million a year.

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Toasting marshmallows

5. Support ecology and conservation – In 2017 The Enchanted Forest donated £500 to Tayside Bat Group (TBG) to install around 30 bat boxes in Faskally Wood. The forest already provides suitable habitat for a range of bat species but these boxes increase available roosting sites for them. TBG volunteers placed the new nesting boxes in a strip of trees along the edge of Loch Dunmore.

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Fluid – created by Squid Soup of squidsoup.org: Dynamically controlled floating points of light visualise the flow of energy, both real and imagined, as suggested by the water and surrounding landscape. Inspired by the myriad of cultural references to energy and flow patterns, from Aboriginal dreamtime paintings to Japanese wave and ripple designs, this uses light and technology to place a dynamic layer onto physical space that is both an augmentation and reflection of it.

6. Embrace Scottish culture & feel inspired – Now in its 17th year, The Enchanted Forest has won numerous awards, most recently being named finalist for Best Cultural Event at the Scottish Thistle Awards for the fifth year in a row. The event also took the coveted Best Cultural Event at the 2016 UK Events Awards in London last winter.

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Illumiphonium – created by Michael Davis of illumiphonium.co.uk: A dynamic and interactive multi-sensory, music-making instrument – the first of its kind. This semi-acoustic, semi-automatic, multi-player musical sculpture comprises more than 100 illuminated chime bars, each of which respond to touch, with ever-changing patterns of light and sound – spreading out like waves over the giant instrument’s surface, bringing people together into a fun and spontaneous music-making experience.

7. Dine out, carbon-free (well, almost) – On-site catering is by Lov Events UK, whose pop-up cafe bars offer a selection of wood-fired pizzas finished off with edible flowers, burgers and fries, mulled wine and more. All cutlery and crockery is Edenware from Go-Pak and fully compostable.

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Ian Sim, chairman of The Enchanted Forest Community Trust, which operates the event, said: “From humble beginnings as a three-night event with just 1500 visitors in 2002, it’s phenomenal to see how much The Enchanted Forest has grown during its 17 years. The love and support we have received is amazing and we are looking forward to welcoming a record 80,000 visitors this year.

“Our reputation as one of Scotland’s and the UK’s must-see autumn events is partly testament to the time we have spent over the years growing a community of dedicated partners, volunteers and followers, believing in what we are doing and listening and responding to feedback so that we can come back better each year. Despite growing significantly we are still a very intimate event and that’s what people seem to love the most. We don’t ever want to lose that.”

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Faskally Wood is home to a diverse range of wildlife. There are kingfishers and herons, and goldeneye ducks that nest in the trees. The 2018 Environmental Impact Study found that the wildlife in the forest shows no signs of being affected by the activities surrounding the event.

As the show goes from strength to strength, supporting the ecology in Faskally Wood is important to the continued success of The Enchanted Forest.

“We have always been keen to ensure that the event has minimal impact on the beautiful environment in which we operate, and the wildlife who call Faskally Wood their home,” says Ian.

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An independent Environmental Impact Study in 2018 confirmed that the Enchanted Forest team takes all possible measures to minimise impact on the forest environment and the wildlife in the forest.

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Fully compostable Edenware

And, when conservation work changed the landscape around Loch Dunmore, the creative team were quick to react to this new opportunity. They removed non-native rhododendron plants to encourage biodiversity and open up more of the loch – which inspired the name of the 2017 show: Oir An Uisge – ‘edge of the water’.

Rhododendron ponticum forms dense thickets and shades out native plants. If left uncontrolled, it will eventually dominate the habitat to the virtual exclusion of all other plant life.

Forestry Commission Scotland plan to replace to replace the rhododendron – which it classes as Scotland’s most invasive non-native plant – with more typical riparian vegetation, such as hazel, willow, alder and aspen.

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Photography: Angus Forbes /Lynda Hamilton Parker 

Did you know?

  • Faskally was purchased by the Forestry Commission in 1953. It covers 365 hectares and is divided in two by the old and new A9. The area where the Enchanted Forest takes place is approximately 66 hectares in size.
  • Faskally is derived from the Gaelic for “stance by the ferry” which probably relates to an old ferry crossing on the river Tummel.
  • The forest attracts approximately 70,000 visitors a year, excluding those to the Enchanted Forest.

Find out more, or book tickets, here 

 

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