Forest art aims to calm us

Rosnes Benches - Dromore, near Gatehouse of Fleet.
Rosnes Benches - Dromore, near Gatehouse of Fleet.

You could be forgiven for assuming the residents of ‘the natural place to live’ could suffer from a syndrome called nature deficit disorder.

But it is a recognised condition in Dumfries and Galloway and a group of artists have recently completed a project aimed at tackling it.

With the installation of 30 sculptural benches in scenic spots across Galloway Forest Park and Biosphere intended to encourage people towards relaxing and reconnecting with nature, the Rosnes Benches have been officially launched this week.

The ecological art project by Dundee-based Matthew Dalziel and Louise Scullion consists of the benches clustered in small groups in 12 locations which have been specially chosen to trigger people’s sense – perhaps through the sound of nearby water, views of huge day and nighttime skyscapes, or the noise of the wind through the trees and grasses.

On a clear night, people lying on the sensory benches will be able to see up to 7,000 stars and planets and the great arc of the Milky Way.

Artist Matthew said: “There’s a real problem in that people are becoming detached from the natural world and we are trying to find ways to help them reconnect with the environment around them.

“The Rosnes Benches have a profound effect on people when they try thembecause when you lie down, you slow down and engage your senses in a different way. You become aware of things like the breeze, the sky, the scents from plants.”

Louise and Matthew worked with a team of artists to deliver the project including local Jim Buchanan.

The project has been produced by Wide Open, a public and environmental art organisation for south west Scotland.

Keith Muir, head of tourism, Galloway Forest Park, said: “Visitors will be able to get closer to nature and tune in to the sights, sounds, smells and atmosphere from a completely different perspective.”

Visit for details and exact locations.