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. 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.

  2. Dailly Paths

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Dailly

    Dailly Paths consist of a network of five trails that are all uniquely fascinating, whether your interest is in nature or history.

  3. Mabie Forest

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Dumfries

    Enjoy the walking trails, some of the excellent 7stanes mountain biking trails and butterfly reserve in this popular forest.

  4. Rowardennan Forest

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Rowardennan

    As part of the Loch Lomond National Park, Rowardennan Forest is situated on the east of the loch.

  5. Callander Crags

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Aberfoyle

    Explore a wide range of paths in the spectacular Callander Crags woodland and discover stunning views of the Forth Valley.

  6. Garbh Eilean Wildlife Hide

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Strontian

    Situated on a rocky knoll on the shore of Loch Sunart, this beautiful, peaceful hide offers some great views over the neighbouring waters.

  7. Balmaha Millennium Forest Park

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Balmaha

    Balmaha Millennium Forest Path is a great walk exploring the village of Balmaha near Loch Lomond.

  8. Craik Forest

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Hawick

    Craik Forest is situated in the heart of the southern uplands to the west of Hawick.

  9. Kinnoull Hill Woodland Park

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Perth

    Kinnoull Hill Woodland Park to the east of Perth includes the five hills, Corsiehill, Deuchny Hill, Barn Hill, Binn Hill and Kinnoull Hill.

  10. Gradings

    Bonar Bridge

    Both Carbisdale and Balblair are noted for their wonderful views over the Kyle of Sutherland. They offer fantastic mountain bike trails.

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