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. Elibank & Traquair Forest

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Innerleithen

    Elibank & Traquair Forest are located in the Tweed Valley Forest Park to the south of Innertheithen in the Scottish Borders.

  2. Gradings

    Bonar Bridge

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

  3. Thornielee Forest

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Innerleithen

    Thornielee wood is part of Tweed Valley Forest Park and can be found around 3 miles east of Walkerburn..

  4. Strathyre Forest

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Aberfoyle

    Explore the ‘Sheltered Valley’, this stunning mixed woodland forest is the ideal location for those wishing to hike, climb or walk.

  5. Quarrymill Woodland Park

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Perth

    Quarrymill Woodland Park is situated on A93, half a mile north of Perth, and includes three excellent waymarked walks.

  6. The Hermitage

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Dunkeld

    Dating from the 18th century, this National Trust for Scotland-preserved site sits on the banks of the River Braan in Craigvinean Forest.

  7. Faskally Wood

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Killiecrankie

    Faskally Wood is an extensive woodland area within Tay Forest Park on the banks of Loch Dunmore, approximately one mile north west of Pitlochry.

  8. Eppie Callum's Oak

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Crieff

    Eppie Callum’s Oak is an ancient oak tree in Crieff which is said to have once sheltered notorious outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor from his enemies.

  9. Meikleour Beech Hedge

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Meikleour

    The Meikleour Beech Hedge, four miles south of Blairgowrie is the longest hedge in Britain and the highest of its kind in the world.

  10. 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.

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