Woodlands in Galloway’s Fantastic Forest Festival a Success

Recent weeks have seen the hosting of the first ever Fantastic Forest Festival. A series of 12 events took place, from in-person, artist-led walks, through to online sessions attracting an international audience. A range of partners came together to deliver the events and the festival as a whole was seen as a fresh and engaging opportunity to consider current and future woodlands in the region.


The 12 events of the festival varied from talks and presentations, through to strategy discussion sessions and the family friendly ‘Treetastic’ event run by the National Trust for Scotland’s Threave Nature Reserve team. The festival was supported by an artist’s residency which aimed to provide a creative response to the festival. As well as the formal events, a range of work was underway with local school children being encouraged to design a tree and woodland, and a photographic competition which was open to all.


One of the partners overseeing the festival was the Galloway Glens Scheme, itself an initiative of Dumfries & Galloway Council’s Environment Team. Galloway Glens Team Leader, McNabb Laurie, said:

“In a world of consultations on planting proposals and woodland discussion in South West Scotland, the festival was an opportunity for people to re-connect with the amazing world of trees – and use this information to better appreciate the habitats in our region.
Many thanks to all partners who helped deliver an event, or to anyone that attended a Fantastic Forest Festival event! From spruce plucking to rainforests, it had it all! We are working on a whole range of outputs from the festival which we will be publicising shortly.”


Morag Paterson was co- leading the Fantastic Forest Festival’s Artists Residency, and a number of the events. Morag added:

“It’s been great to see so many people engage with the festival, with plenty of new faces and familiar friends involved. We’ve learned a lot through attending the events and have enjoyed gathering with people, whether at the exhibition launch, the artists’ talks or the “Walk in the Woods”. We’ve been impressed, fascinated and moved in equal measure, and many potential collaborations have started to incubate via the various happenings.”


Festival organisers are delighted to announce the winner of the “Spirit of a Tree” Photographic Competition. The judging panel chose a beautiful photograph capturing a magic moment in the woodland by Diane Schofield. Diane said:

“I wouldn’t call myself a photographer but I like taking pictures, particularly abstract ones. With this image It was total luck to be in the right place at the right time! All we can do is hope for these magic moments.”


Jan Hogarth, Galloway Glens Education & Community Engagement officer, oversaw the photography competition and gave the news to Diane. Jan added:

“The standard of the entries was excellent and the decision was very hard. Well done to everyone who took part and keep celebrating our trees through your inspiring images. Thanks so much to Leeming + Paterson for offering an outdoor photography workshop in the Glenkens as the prize for the winner.”

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