Sensory Trial 2023

Sensory Trial Update

The aim of the Sensory Trail is to have a series of experiences along a pathway that are designed to engage the different senses and collectively to immerse people in a multi-sensory journey in nature. 

Phase 1 has now been completed, which was to make a purpose built pathway from the stable area to the start of the Sensory Trail to enable wheelchair access as well as ponies and walkers to reach the start of the trail. 

Phase 2 will start at the end of May and will be to fence the whole area of the Sensory Trail with deer fencing to keep deer and other livestock out and to make the area within secure. 

Phase 3 will start in June and this will be to construct the main pathway throughout the Sensory Trail, this pathway will be suitable for wheelchair users, people on foot and on horseback. 

Phase 4 will start at the end of June and beginning of July this will be to design, develop and plant the different areas, which will makeup the Sensory experience along the pathway.

What will it look like?

The Sensory Trail will stimulate the senses and be a place for fun, learning, relaxation and conversation.

  • Sight – visual displays of wooden animals / animal ornaments / bird boxes, murals, fairy houses and areas of wild flowers.
  • Touch – tactile ornaments, different surfaces along the pathways and a variety of plants.
  • Hearing – Bird song - bird boxes to encourage birds, flowers to attract bees and metal and wood wind chimes.
  • Smell - Planting flowers and plants with strong perfumes for example; lavender, rosemary, jasmine and honeysuckle.
  • Play – Musical instruments and garden games.
  • Relax – A variety of seating with water features and plants to aid relaxation and to encourage communication.

What is the Purpose of the Sensory Trial?

The purpose of the Sensory Trail is to allow walkers, wheelchair users and RDA horse riders to enjoy the countryside by stimulating the senses of sight, touch, hearing and smell.

The Sensory Trail will be used by RDA clients with their carers, parents and volunteers. It will also be used for EquineFacilitated Learning (EFL) Sessions, which are already held at Tweeddale.

In addition, we hope to welcome people from other charities, and organisations including schools and care homes.

It will benefit our wonderful horses and ponies too, as they enjoy exploring as much as we do, and will offer a change of scenery for them as they mainly work in the indoor school.

The Benefits

  • Give people the opportunity to listen, touch, smell and look, more closely
  • Bring a place to life for all visitors including people with sensory impairments
  • Encourage physical activity
  • Tell a story, weave a tale and bring a myth to life
  • Be the basis for an education experience, facilitating learning outside the classroom
  • Encourage relaxation and calmness
  • Build memories and make connections
  • Start conversations and share stories

Special Thanks

Gordon Group RDA are extremely grateful to The Earl of Kintore and wish to thank him for his generosity and kindness in allocating an area for our Sensory Trail. Without his tremendous support this new project would not be possible.

Grant Awarded

Gordon Group RDA has been very kindly awarded a grant of £2,000, from Aberdeenshire CommunitiesMental Health & Wellbeing Fund in conjunction with Aberdeenshire VoluntaryAction. This grant is very much appreciated and will be used for the constructure of the Sensory Trail. Thank you once again to both organisations.


In early 2023 we will be forming a committee for The Gordon Group RDA Sensory Trail, if you would like to become a volunteer and get involved in this exciting new project please get in touch by emailing, thank-you;

We would be particularly interested to hear from anyone with experience in any type of gardening, especially landscape gardening and working with wood or handy-person skills.

Sponsor a Bench

We plan to have a number of benches situated throughout the Sensory Trail in specific areas for people to relax and unwind.

If you would like to sponsor a bench we will arrange a small sign which can either have your name or your company’s name on it or perhaps you would like to remember someone special with a message and their name.

The cost to sponsor a bench is £200, please make your sponsorship donation from the homepage and quote Sensory Trail Bench, we will then be in touch to get the text for your bench.

Thank you

Funding / Donations

We are very grateful for the grant we have already received which will be used for the structure of the Sensory Trail pathway, however we still need additional funds to purchase the following items on our wish list. Alternatively if you have any of these items unused in your garden or garage we would be very happy if you would like to donate them to enable us to complete the Sensory Trail.

Our wish list includes :

  • Bulbs, seeds, plants, bushes & small trees
  • Large plant pots
  • Bird boxes
  • Wooden carved animals
  • Fairy houses & fairy doors
  • Wind chimes – metal & wooden
  • Water features / fountains - solar powered
  • Garden ornaments & wall hangings
  • Wood / bark chipping

Thank you from everyone at Gordon Group RDA for your kind consideration and support. Any questions or queries please email;  


Together we pledge to make Gordon Group RDA Sensory Trail a very special place for everyone to visit and enjoy.

Get in touch with GRDA

If you would like to volunteer, participate or get involved with the RDA please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Gordon RDA
Keithhall Estate
AB51 0LU
admin@gordonrda.org0751 080 3636
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