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. South Carrick Trails

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Girvan

    The South Carrick Trails consist of five paths, ranging from family strolls to scenic hikes for ambitious walkers.

  2. Glentrool

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Dumfries & Galloway

    Explore the waymarked trails, cycle routes and picnic areas by bike amidst the highest hills of South Scotland.

  3. Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    New Galloway

    Kirroughtree Visitor Centre is the southern gateway to this Galloway Forest Park.

  4. Innerleithen

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Innerleithen

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

  5. Yair Forest

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Selkirk

    Yair Forest is situated in the heart of Tweed Valley Forest Park and provides breathtaking views over the River Tweed and surrounding hills.

  6. Puck's Glen

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Dunoon

    Puck’s Glen is deservedly the most famous short walk on the Cowal Peninsula.

  7. Aros Park

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Tobermory & North Mull

    Situated about half a mile from the centre of the town, Aros Park is an attractive feature in Tobermory offering variety of trails and activities.

  8. Glen Doll

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Kirriemuir

    The Angus Glens are part of Cairngorms National Park and offer a range of trails to explore and wildlife to discover.

  9. 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.

  10. Birks Of Aberfeldy

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Aberfeldy

    The Birks of Aberfeldy is a circular walk through mature mixed woodland on the western outskirts of Aberfeldy.

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