I have wanted to go to the Enchanted Forest in Pitlochry for a few years now, however the information regarding accessibility for wheelchairs on their website has put me off booking tickets. Am I alone in this? I don’t think so. Previously I have tried phoning customer services to get more information, but I was never successful. Therefore, this year due to my blog and YouTube channel picking up I decided to email them, explained what I do regarding spreading accessibility awareness and offer to promote the accessibility of the Enchanted Forest itself. So here I am, it has taken me a couple of weeks to write this blog, but it’s better late than never am I right? A few days before the Enchanted Forest began I went to see the forest pathway in the daylight, then I was kindly invited to the PR night on the Wednesday along with 2 guests.
What is the Enchanted Forest you may be asking? Well it is a spectacular light show that is run every year around September October time for a month. Lights are projected throughout Faskally Woods and move to the rhythm of various pieces of music. The shows are different every year and this year it is titled Oir an Uisge, which is Scots Gaelic for “Edge of the Water” and has taken its inspiration from the magnificent Loch Dunmore that’s at the heart of Faskally Wood.
It was great to be able to see the route for the Enchanted Forest in the daylight as it meant I could take clearer photos to share with you guys. I was shown around by Fraser who is head of publicity for the company that help organise the event and he could not have been more helpful. He took us around the whole route that you walk around during the show, which was very useful because it meant I was able to see if I would struggle in any areas before I’d have to go around in the dark. I was truly surprised though at how easily I managed. Fraser explained that they try and work with the forest commission to provide the best experience for their visitors and one main thing is accessibility. I was expecting the pathways to be really bumpy with tree roots coming above the surface of the path, but they were smooth, looked recently tarmacked, and I was able to drive around Faskally Woods without much assistance.
The only main part on the route that I needed assistance at was coming off the bridge that you had to cross over twice. There was a slight lip to get back on to the path which I needed someone to support my chest at so that I didn’t fall forward. There was also a steeper hill area that I needed support coming back down, but this wasn’t on the main route so you only had to go up for food or to go to the toilet. I thought I would have needed assistance going over the wire protectors as I have struggled other places before, but they weren’t as high.
On the night it took us roughly an hour and a half to go around the show, however this included stopping for a cheeky roasted marshmallow stick halfway around. We had a great tour on the PR night from Jennifer who also works for the company who organise the event, she was very helpful and friendly. There were two main viewing platforms along the route where you were able to stop and watch two amazing light shows. Here there was a designated area where people with prams, in wheelchairs and people with other impairments are given priority. The barrier may still be too high for people; however, I think this is needed for safety and most of the light shows are higher up in the forest trees.
Regarding toilets there is not a Changing Places toilet on site at Faskally Wood and as far as I am aware there are none in Pitlochry at all. There are portacabin disabled toilets on site, however even though I am unable to use these I tried to fit in and if you could transfer yourself there may be enough room. But if you need someone to help you then there would not be enough room. Within the car park there is a wooden cabin with two normal sized toilets and a disabled toilet. This is bigger than the portacabin toilet, however if you are only able to transfer from one side then you may struggle if that side is your left because you are unable to get to the righthand side of the toilet.
There are some areas of the Enchanted Forest that have bark laid down which for me I know the wheels of my powerchair would just spin in so I didn’t even try it. These areas were two light scenes which I could see from the pathway, a food area, where they sold the merchandise and the story telling hut. One of the light shows was interactive. However, the way I see it is that I managed the majority of the light show, more than I thought I would, so missing out on a couple of things I didn’t mind.
All in all, I would say that the Enchanted Forest is very accessible for wheelchairs. Of course, everyone has their own individual needs though, so what was accessible for me might not be accessible for someone else. The lights made the forest feel very magical and I would definitely recommend you visit in the future (tickets sold out this year). If you would like to visually see my experience of the Enchanted Forest a video will be available on my channel on Wednesday. Subscribe to my YouTube channel here to be notified or like my Facebook page here.
Lastly I would like to thank the organisers of the Enchanted Forest for allowing me to visit Faskally Woods in the daylight and for inviting me to there PR night.