Scottish forests and woodlands

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  • Looking across the Caledonian pine trees at Coire Loch in Glen Affric, Highlands © FC Library
    Caledonian pine trees at Coire Loch in Glen Affric, Highlands © FC Library
  • Loch Trool, near Newton Stewart, in the Galloway Forest Park
    Loch Trool, near Newton Stewart, in the Galloway Forest Park
  • Looking through trees to Victoria Falls in the Slattadale Forest near Loch Maree, Highlands
    Victoria Falls in the Slattadale Forest near Loch Maree, Highlands
  • The wildlife hide at Sunart Oakwoods on the shore of Loch Sunart, Highlands © FC Library
    The wildlife hide at Sunart Oakwoods on the shore of Loch Sunart, Highlands © FC Library

Scotland is home to several stunning oak woodlands. Often referred to as ‘Celtic rainforests’, these dense oak forests are home to abundant flora and are carpeted in soft layers of mosses, liverworts and lichens.

The oak tree has deep roots in Scottish natural history and is believed to have grown in Scotland for thousands of years. Oak trees tend to live up to 500 years but there are some Scottish oak trees thought to be even older.

You will find oak woods in Taynish National Nature Reserve, Sunart Oakwoods in Argyll and the Wood of Cree in Dumfries & Galloway.

There is a reason why Perthshire is known as ‘Big Tree Country’ as you will find some of the most remarkable trees here, from the world's highest hedge and Europe's oldest tree to the widest conifer in Britain and the sole survivor from Shakespeare's Birnam Wood. There are some stunning woodland trails near Killiekrankie and Dunkeld.

Thousands of years ago, vast swathes of the Scottish Highlands were covered in ancient pinewood forest known as the Caledonian Forest. Today only one percent of the original ancient forest remains in pockets across the region. These forest segments are made up of Scots pine, birch, aspen, rowan, oak and juniper and provide a rich ecosystem that supports a variety of rare and wonderful flora and fauna.

You can get a glimpse of what the Highlands looked like thousands of years ago by visiting the remains of this ancient forest at Mar Lodge, Loch Garten and Rothiemurchus in the Cairngorms or National Nature Reserves such as Glen Affric and Loch Maree in the western Highlands.

You will find other wonderful woodlands in Glenmore Forest Park in the heart of the Cairngorms, Yair Forest in the Scottish Borders, Galloway Forest Park in Dumfries & Galloway and Knapdale Forest in Argyll.

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  1. Gradings

    Fochabers

    This great coastal pinewood lining Burghead Bay offers the perfect place for a family outing.

  2. Loch Ard Family Sculpture Trails

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Aberfoyle

    Enjoy a family-friendly experience on the Loch Ard Sculpture Trails, near Aberfoyle, and discover wildlife as well as fascinating sculptures.

  3. Galloway Red Deer Range

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Dumfries and Galloway

    Come face to face with Scotland’s largest land mammal at Galloway Red Deer Range.

  4. Kirkhill Forest

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Westhill

    Kirkhill is a working forest with waymarked circular walks, a permanent orienteering course and longer multi user trails.

  5. Caberston Forest

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Innerleithen

    Caberston Forest is located next to the Leithen Water to the north of Innverleithen..

  6. Drummond Hill

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Kenmore

    Drummond Hill lies six miles west of Aberfeldy, forms part of Tay Forest Park, and is thought to be the site of Scotland’s first managed forest.

  7. Innerleithen

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Innerleithen

    Innerleithen Forest is situated in the Tweed Valley in the Scottish Borders.

  8. Glenmore Forest Park

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Aviemore and the Cairngorms

    Located at the foot of the Cairngorm Mountains, this magnificent forest park is well-known for its Caledonian pinewoods.

  9. Cragbank Wood

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Hawick

    Cragbank Wood is a Scottish Natural Heritage Woodland located in the Scottish Borders to the south of Hawick.

  10. Galloway Forest Park

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Straiton

    The Galloway Forest Park is Britain’s largest forest park.

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