Blarbuie Woodland has some new artworks, thanks to a local group who came on weekly visits as part of a 12-week outdoor learning and wellbeing program.

Art in the woods

Working with the LiveArgyll community learning team, and led by ACT's ranger Dan and our Branching Out leader Di, the group participated in a series of inspirational and sociable activities in the outdoors. They created artworks for the railings at Blarbuie and within the woodlands. If you wander through the woods, you might see their work, including faces-in-the-trees, buzz-words and musical mobile installations, alongside some inspirational carved quotes and hidden woodland figures.   

Building skills and connections

Working together, the group developed Jess’ Place memorial by willow wattling and building a new bench. They learned green woodworking skills – chisel, knife and axe work - and carved walking sticks and signs, and crafted mobiles.

Using kelly-kettles and fire lighting, making string and charcoal, were some of the bushcraft skills the group tried out. They were also keen to learn how to identify species, about woodland folklore and the history of Blarbuie. There was also the opportunity to participate in our bike repair workshop with our bike refurbisher, Jamie.

Cooking up a fresh feast

The highlight of each week was a campfire lunch made using fresh, Blarbuie-grown and foraged ingredients, which participants took turns in cooking for the group – not forgetting the delicious home-baking brought in!   

Everyone agreed that the sociable activities had grown the group into an inclusive, positive, community that increased feelings of wellbeing and confidence, and left them with new skills and new friends.

ACT in the Woods was funded by TSI Mental Health Fund (year 2), and had support from our National Lottery-funded Branching Out project.  

What does the future hold for wellbeing in nature activities?

All the participants from our Branching Out, Moving On and outdoor activity projects tell us that these projects are needed on a continued basis to sustain positive mental health. In an increasingly challenging funding landscape, ACT will continue to seek funding to provide these much-needed activities across Argyll.