Does anything calm the spirit more than lying back on a mossy bank, taking a deep, pine-scented breath, then looking up to see a crowd of tree trunks tapering to a leafy canopy waving gently against a blue sky?

Woods are places of wonder. Your senses are alert, your mind is calm, your heart is full, you feel rejuvenated. To explore them is to step into a different world, and come back a different person.

1. Galloway Forest Park, Dumfries & Galloway

Did you know, seven out of the ten largest forests in the UK are in Scotland? The largest is Galloway Forest Park, which covers 770 km2 of countryside in a gorgeous green blanket. It's an ideal location to visit, whether you're looking for a picturesque autumn stroll, a family cycle along the trails, trying your hand at fishing, spotting local wildlife, or just spending an afternoon relaxing in the visitor centre tea room.

Did we mention it's also an incredible place for stargazing at night?

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2. Rothiemurchus Forest, Cairngorms National Park

Nestled in heart of the Cairngorms National Park near Aviemore, this forest is home to an array of landscapes and wildlife, alongside plenty of things to do. Immerse yourself amongst native Caledonian pine trees, with lochs, cycle paths, walking trails, horse riding, tree top trails, clay pigeon shooting, and watersports, you certainly won't be lost for activities to enjoy.

The forest also boasts caravan and campsites, a youth hostel, reindeer centre and is the gateway to the Cairngorm Ski Centre. A must if you're in the Highlands.

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3. Puck's Glen, Dunoon

Anyone a fan of Shakespeare? Puck's Glen on the Cowal peninsula in Argyll & Bute exudes a mythical atmosphere, reminiscent of the mythological 'Puck' from Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Embark on the short, but famous, walk along the ravine, surrounded by thick hanging moss and dense woodland, with waterfalls, rock pools, and arched wooden bridges around every turn, adding to the almost fairy-tale setting.

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4. Argyll Forest Park

With woodlands, mountains, lochs and glens, Argyll Forest Park spans 211 km2 and encompasses numerous popular spots that you've probably already heard about. Explore the challenging bike trails of Glenbranter, wander past some of Scotland's jaw-dropping giant trees in Benmore, or find your way through a maze of monkey puzzle trees at Kilmun Arboretum, which is home to over 150 different species of trees.

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5. Ariundle Oakwoods, Sunart, Highlands

Located just north of Strontian in the North Highlands, immerse yourself in some of Scotland's finest mature Atlantic oakwoods. Part of the Ariundle Oakwoods National Nature Reserve, prepare to be amongst some of the finest forestry and woodlands, complete with primitive plants, native wildlife and breathtaking scenery.

This peaceful part of Scotland boasts a green haven with thriving trees and plants, as well as wildlife and insects, including butterflies, dragonflies, pine martens, otters, wildcats and more. Follow the waymarked trails and keep your eyes peeled to get a glimpse of these elusive animals.

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6. Glen Affric, Highlands

Its hard to beat an area filled to the brim with native pine trees, untouched forest, sparkling lochs and miles of walking trails and routes to explore.

Head off and enjoy a wellness wander through the towering trees, listening out for chirping birds while feeling a cooling Scottish breeze on your face. Glen Affric is a magnificent place to visit at any time of the year. Watch the leaves and plants come back to life in spring and summer, admire the autumnal colours of the changing foliage, or wrap up warm as you explore the trails during winter.

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7. Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, Aberfoyle

The Queen Elizabeth Forest Park combines forests, woodland, rivers, mountains and lochs across an immense 202 km2 space in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. Located in Aberfoyle, explore the park on foot, two wheels, or on horseback for a magical day out.

Head to nearby Loch Katrine or Loch Ard, or if you fancy stretching your legs, take the short but steep climb up Ben A'an in Callander for outstanding panoramic views. Don't forget your camera!

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8. Cardrona Forest, Scottish Borders

Near Peebles in the Scottish Borders, Cardrona Forest is an ideal place for cyclists, walkers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Enjoy lovely views up the Tweed Valley towards Glentress, and make sure you look out for red squirrels and a variety of birdlife too. On the trails you'll come across the ruin of Cardrona Tower, which was built in the 1500s, as well as the site of the Iron Age fort at Castle Knowe - believed to be some 2,000 years old.

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9. Faskally Wood, Pitlochry

Probably most popular for hosting the annual Enchanted Forest, Faskally Wood is an extensive forest found just north of Pitlochry in Perthshire, also known as 'Big Tree Country', so you can expect some wonders in this part of Scotland.

Each year the trees and walkways are brought to life by an incredible sound and light show that see people coming together from across the country to enjoy the region at night. During the day, head along the Dunmore Trail or Foresters' Trails for scenic walks and shimmering lochs.

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