Sensory Trail

Brilliant Trails have recently installed a sensory trail around the award-winning Slieve Gullion Forest Park. Slieve Gullion Forest Park offers the unmissable opportunity to experience tranquil woodland, mountain trails and stunning views across the Ring of Gullion to the Mourne Mountains, the Cooley Peninsula, and Armagh Drumlins. This trail has different elements throughout for each of the senses. It is a trail designed for the whole family to take part in and enjoy together. The sensory pathway is a straightforward linear 1-mile walk with plenty of different elements created by our trail designers to stimulate your senses.

Slieve Gullion Sensory Trail sign
Forest Bathing

In the heart of the sensory trail, you will find three chairs positioned a little unusually into the ground. The idea is to take a seat, sit back and look up at a space framed by branches and sky. You are now Forest Bathing!
Let the sounds of the forest, the sunlight playing through the leaves, the fresh, clean air; give you a sense of comfort. This Japanese practice is designed to open your mind and bridge the gap between you and the natural world. Let the forest in. We’ve just recently upgraded our popular Galgorm Castle Fairy trail with forest bathing also. Even a small amount of time forest bathing will reduce blood pressure, decrease depression and anxiety and improve your energy levels.

forest bathing
Blind Rope Challenge

The Blind Rope Challenge, also known as the Trust Trail, encourages visitors to close their eyes or get a blindfold and trust a friend to guide them around the Blind Rope Challenge. The rope leads you up and down the natural slopes of the land, over obstacles and around trees. Following this route will show some of the difficulties faced by visually impaired people. You will be encouraged to try to use your other senses, feel the rope rising and falling, listen to the sound of the wind moving and use this sound to steer by, but above all, learn to trust your partner to guide you safely back home.

Blind rope challenge

Sounds of the Forest

Within Slieve Gullion Forrest sensory trail you will find a natural and a man-made orchestra. There is often a wind blowing through these high trees, listen for the delicate sounds of the wind-chimes and the noises of the branches creaking. Have a go playing a tune on the hand-chimes and listen to Nature’s sounds. We have put up bird boxes here to encourage wild birds to nest. When they are breeding in spring, the birds mark their territory and attract mates by singing.

sensory trail orchestra
Eye Spy a Troll

While on your walk lookout for a large family of trolls who hide in the Slieve Gullion sensory trail. These trolls arrived with the Vikings from Sweden and Norway hundreds of years ago and made their way to the peace of Slieve Gullion, but all the fairy hunters on the mountain today have chased this family across to the quiet of the Sensory Trail. They are very shy.

sensory trail troll
Barfuss

Our trail designers think the best way to experience specific parts of the trail, which is set down from the main path along the forest floor, is to take your shoes off and take part “Barfuss”. Barfuss walking was invented by a German priest in the 19th century who discovered that exposing your feet to a range of natural surfaces and textures could have a stimulating and therapeutic effect on the whole body. Similar reflexology paths have been used in China for centuries to relax people. When we walk with shoes on our feet, we cannot explore natural textures such as sand, mud, and grass but when we barefoot, these natural materials stimulate pressure points and nerves making us more alert, active, aware and oriented. Even if the Irish weather puts you off going barefoot, visitors can use this section of the trail to listen to the sounds, and the different textures make as you walk.

sensory trail Barfuss walking
A Land of Ice and Fire

From our viewpoint, you can see all the way from Dundalk Bay across Ravensdale and round the peaks of the Ring of Gullion. Stand so that you can line up the real hills in the landscape with the shapes etched into the transparent panel, then you will be able to read the names of the peaks.

Slieve Gullion sensory trail view point

Each element of Slieve Gullion Forest sensory trail has been carefully designed to help visitors get the most out of nature and let their imagination run wild. Come along and explore one of our many unique trails and get back to nature, and it’s many proven health benefits.