Witch Corner at Abbotsford Estate

Client Requirement

The Abbotsford Estate Heritage Team approached Brilliant Trails to design an interactive sculpture trail along with an app that tells the folkloric tales of Sir Walter Scott. The Abbotsford Team requested a darker approach to the fairy trails and wanted us to incorporate the eerie and magical stories from Sir Walter Scott’s tales.

Our Approach

The Abbotsford Team provided us with several books by Sir Walter Scott to help us understand his writing style and the desired tone for the trail. Using this knowledge, we developed multiple concepts, including illustration styles, colour palettes, as well as numerous panel and booklet designs, and illustrated assets. We collaborated with the team through virtual meetings and emails to perfect the trail’s direction and Witch Corner branding. Once the concept was approved, we sent briefs to the illustrators and carvers, and the trail began to take shape.

Our team worked on creating an interactive panel design, activity booklet, and app for the Witch Corner Trail using assets we acquired and created. Instead of a continuous story, the Abbotsford Heritage Team decided to share snippets of 12 pieces of Sir Walter Scott’s writings. The panels feature intricate illustrations that depict the tale being told, while the booklet contains a description, a map of the site, activities on each page, a spell to find, and space to write your own magic spell. Once the panels and book were confirmed, we developed the new Abbotsford App, which included additional content and imagery, including audio files, about the Witch Corner Trail, Estate, House & Gardens. The app also allowed users to book into future events hosted at Abbotsford. Visit the Witch Corner Trail and explore more with the Abbotsford app!

Client: Abbotford Estate
Date: 2022-2023
Location: Abbotsford – Scotland
Services: Trail consultancy, design, implementation + mobile app

Trail Outcome at Abbotsford Estate

Witch Corner is a new sculpture trail themed around the folktales and legends that enchanted the region’s most famous author, Sir Walter Scott. Inspired by Sir Walter Scott, Witch Corner includes twelve story stops with sculptures and interactive panels, which coinciding children’s activity booklets with activities to complete and clues to solve at each story stop are included in the experience. As part of the project for Abbotsford, we also developed the Abbotsford app to complement the Witch Corner Trail and provide more in-depth information on the origins and development of each legend or folktale, including an audio guide for adult visitors.

Witch Corner is a new way to experience Sir Walter Scott’s storytelling which will be popular with visitors to the region and local communities alike. The project took off with a site visit and a trail route designed to suit the site. From there, we collaborated with the Abbotsford Heritage Team via online meetings and connecting over emails.

The Witch Corner trail was designed in collaboration with the Abbotsford Heritage Team to ensure continuity with the folkloric tales of Sir Walter Scott. Directly inspired by the writings and research of Sir Walter Scott of Abbotsford (1771-1832), Witch Corner takes its name from Scott’s nickname for his favourite section of the Abbotsford Library, which houses his collection of 250 rare books about witchcraft, magic, folklore, and superstition.

Client comments

Kirsty Archer-Thompson, Collections and Interpretation Manager at Abbotsford Estate said: “One of the real delights of creating Witch Corner has been embedding the magical stories Walter Scott told and the folktales he loved into his Abbotsford estate in an immersive and entertaining way. There are so many layers to this experience, from activities, clues, and magic spells for children to fantastic photographic opportunities and app content for adults keen to understand how these legends came about in the first place. That was one of Scott’s main aims as a writer of historical fiction -trying to understand why people believed what they did in times past.

“I was passionate about creating something that felt true to the older folk beliefs of Scotland, so the creatures and beings you’ll meet in our story trail are more mischievous and tricksy than the fairies and elves you have in your mind’s eye. And the best thing about all of this, for me, is that I have been able to weave Scott’s words and stories into every single part of this experience.”

Giles Ingram, Chief Executive

“The Brilliant Trails team have been great partners, as together we planned and developed an entirely new folklore sculpture trail, Witch Corner. The sculptures Allan and his team created and placed along the trail are amazing – visitors love them, young and old. The children’s activity trail, the digital design, and the app, with its audio tour and mapping functions, bring the trail stories to life imaginatively, creating an experience that families simply love. It’s been huge fun working with Brilliant Trails on Witch Corner.”

Giles Ingram, Chief Executive