10 best autumn woodland walks in Scotland

A walk in the woods is truly magical in autumn; the colour, the sound, the fresh air. Enjoy a short break in Scotland this autumn and make your first trip a wander through the woods. Most of these walks can be reached on a day trip from a nearby city, or why not take a longer break in the countryside? It's the perfect way to unwind and appreciate the beauty of Scotland.

  1. The Hermitage Dunkeld

    The Hermitage

    Look out for: the massive stand of Douglas Fir trees, including one of the tallest trees in the country!

    This landscaped, cathedral-like wooded grove of towering trees overlooks the spectacular falls of the River Braan. Perched high above is the restored Georgian folly of Ossian's Hall, which offers the best vantage point and adds to the timeless, otherworldly feel of The Hermitage.

  2. Glentrool Galloway

    Sunset Over Loch Trool, Glen Trool

    Look out for: Bruce's Stone, which commemorates the famous battle of Glentrool between Scots loyal to Robert the Bruce and the English forces.

    Lose yourself amongst the trees for an hour or two, and gaze out across the tranquil waters of Loch Trool. In the shadow of the highest peak in southern Scotland, the Merrick, you can follow the Glentrool Trail around the loch, admiring the trees and leaves as you go. Come back at night in the colder months and you'll be treated to a starry show - this is a Dark Sky Park, meaning it's one of the best spots in the UK for stargazing.

  3. Glen Affric The Highlands

    An Autumnal Glen Affric

    Look out for: the mosaic of colour and the echoing roar of red deer stags in the autumn.

    Glen Affric is one of the largest ancient Caledonian pine woods in Scotland, with glistening lochs and haunting moorland all around. Listen out for the chirpy calls of woodland birds as you explore some of the many walking trails in the glen.

    Discover the walking trails of Glen Affric

  4. Killin Killin

    Looking down to the bridge at the Falls of Dochart, Killin at the head of Loch Tay.

    © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins

    Look out for: The Falls of Dochart which, when fuelled by the autumn rain, make for a spectacular sight as water cascades over the rocks and under the bridge.

    Killin lies right on the edge of stunning Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park and Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve, so it's perfect for a woodland walk this autumn. Follow part of the 12 mile route from Killin to Ardtalnaig along the Rob Roy Way through the forestry for views over the head of Loch Tay to the Tarmachan Ridge and Ben Lawers range.

    Experience the Rob Roy Trail

  5. Lady Mary's Walk Perthshire

    River Earn from Lady Mary's Walk

    © Crieff Succeeds / Damian Shields

    Fun fact: The route was named by Sir Patrick Murray of Ochtertyre after his daughter, Lady Mary Murray, in 1825.

    The route to Lady Mary's Walk winds alongside the river, following the Turret Burn and then the River Earn. See fine beech trees lining the bank and the sandy beach, before heading along the Laggan Hill walk . Look out for the benches engraved with beautiful poems, describing the wondrous landscape all around you.

  6. Lews Castle and grounds Stornoway

    Lews Castle grounds

    Look out for: 7 ft wooden replicas of the world famous Lewis Chessmen sculptures sitting outside the Woodland Centre.

    The Isle of Lewis might be most known for its infamous standing stones, but it's well worth spending some time in Stornoway first. Lews Castle sits above the harbour town, and is surrounded by 270 hectares of woodland, parkland and gardens. Head up the main path winding up through the trees to the stunning viewpoint to look back down at the town.

    Plan your walk to the viewpoint

  7. Dawyck Botanic Garden Stobo

    Dawyck Botanic Garden

    Look out for: The conkers produced by the horse chestnut trees, and the caramel scent of the large Japanese katsura.

    You don't need to head for the woods to enjoy the golden light of autumn - take a trip to Dawyck Botanic Garden in the Scottish Borders for autumn fruits, from acorns to crab apples, maple keys to fir cones. Many of the trees turn fiery in autumn, but one of the best to find is the yellow birch from North America.

    Key facilities
    • Parking
    • On Public Transport Route
    • Hearing Loop
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Level Access
    • Accessible toilets
    • WiFi
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  8. Ballindalloch Castle The Highlands

    The Gatehouse To Ballindalloch Castle

    Look out for: The Bridge of Avon, which dates back to 1754. The bridge was once the entrance to the castle and the keystone carries the Macpherson-Grant coat of arms and the family motto, "Touch not the cat bot a glove."

    Not far from where water is turned into whisky is Ballindalloch Castle, once described in the Edwardian era: "There seems wood and water everywhere [and] there are so many ornamental trees that one forgets for a moment that the castle is in the Highlands." Walk along the tree-lined avenue North of the castle and through the laburnum arch to the walled garden, filled with colour and perfume.

    Please note that the castle and grounds close at the end of September. 

    Key facilities
    • Parking
    • Pets Welcome
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Accessible toilets
    • WiFi
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  9. Mar Lodge Estate Aberdeenshire

    The Mar lodge estate in Braemar

    Look out for: Gnawed cones - a feeding sign of red squirrels, elusive otters and wild salmon in the river.

    This is a rare chance to step back in time and walk amongst the remnants of the ancient Caledonian pine forest. Just a short walk in the Mar Lodge Estate through the Linn and River Dee woodland will carry you amongst a mature stand of Scots pine and Douglas Firs.

  10. Queen's View Pitlochry

    The Queen’s View in Highland Perthshire which overlooks Loch Tummel

    Fun fact: Queen Victoria visited in 1866 and thought it was named after her - but it's actually thought to have been named after Isabella, the first wife of Robert the Bruce, more than 500 years earlier.

    You just know that a view that is worthy of two queens is definitely going to be spectacular! If you can tear yourself away from the Queen's View, a short walk will take you into Allean Forest, where there's a choice of two trails. Clachan Trail takes you to a ruined farming settlement, through the woods which are filled with goldcrests, siskins and Scottish crossbills in the canopy overhead. The Ring Fort Trail takes you further back in time to a ruined ring fort, which was once a lookout for the Picts, and onwards through larch and pine woods.

    Find out more about Allean Forest

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