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. 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.

  2. Great Trossachs Forest

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    The Trossachs

    Great Trossachs Forest is one of the most significant native woodland regeneration projects across Great Britain.

  3. Glentress Forest

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Peebles

    Glentress Forest is the gateway to the Tweed Valley Forest Park and is located only an hour's drive south of Edinburgh.

  4. Devilla Forest

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Kincardine

    Devilla Forest is a quiet pine forest in Fife.

  5. Rounall Wood

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Dalbeattie

    All of the routes start from the main car park and cross the Mabie Burn towards the Old Sawmill where picnic areas, barbecues and toilets can be found.

  6. Gradings

    Elgin

    Monaughty Forest is an extensive woodland situated 6 miles south west of Elgin in Moray.

  7. 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.

  8. Ae Forest

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Dumfries

    The shortest place name in the UK, but Ae offers a wide variety of walks, 7stanes mountain biking trails, a café and bike shop. There's also a collection of old farm machinery!

  9. 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.

  10. Laggan Wolftrax

    Type

    Forests & Woodlands

    Gradings

    Laggan

    Laggan Wolftrax is a set of great mountain biking trails with something for every skill level.

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