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. Argyll Forest Park

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Lochgilphead

    Standing on the very edge of the Highlands, the quiet and secluded Argyll Forest Park is the oldest forest park in Britain covering a large part of North of Cowal.

  2. The Dunkeld Larches

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Dunkeld

    Dunkeld’s Parent Larch is situated behind the town’s cathedral and dates from 1738, when a group of five larches were planted in the area.

  3. Queen Elizabeth Forest Park

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Aberfoyle

    Enjoy a great day out at the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park and discover wildlife, breathtaking scenery and a wide range of activities.

  4. Cambus O' May

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Ballater

    This woodland in Aberdeenshire is a great place to spot dragonflies, red squirrels and black grouse.

  5. Craik Forest

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Hawick

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

  6. Bennachie

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Inverurie

    Bennachie is one of the best known and most popular places to visit in north east Scotland.

  7. 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.

  8. Knapdale

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Lochgilphead

    Knapdale Forest is surrounded by a National Scenic Area and is partially bordered by the Crinan Canal and the Sound of Jura and Loch Sween.

  9. Loch Ard Forest

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Aberfoyle

    Loch Ard Forest lies between Aberfoyle and the foothills of Loch Lomond.

  10. 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.

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