Native woodlands have become a precious rarity, and we count ourselves lucky to live on the edge of an absolute beauty. Here is a selection of such wonderful places:
Abriachan Forest Trust; adjacent to Great Glen Walk, overlooking Loch Ness, one of first community woodlands in Scotland where private and state ownership still predominate. On way to Urquhart Castle. More info
Achany Forest with Shin Falls, near Lairg, Sutherland, north of Inverness; Forest Walk. Moderate fitness and stout footwear required. More info
Ardross Castle, Highland (NOT Fife!), by arrangement; extensive grounds with woodland and gardens, wedding venue with accommodation. More info
Beinn Eighe: This 10,000 acre National Nature Reserve contains some ancient Scots pines which are more than 350 years old, and the genetic composition of the pinewood has been shown to be truly distinct. Accommodation available in Kinlochewe and at the Torridon Inn. More info
Evanton Community Wood, Ross-shire, northeast of Inverness; long walks on good level-ground paths, leading to Black Rock Gorge Falls: HARRY POTTER film location; good restaurant in Evanton village.
Gearrchoille (small) Community Wood, Ardgay; semi-natural ancient mixed woodland; in Sutherland, located north of Inverness at head of Dornoch Firth; with short All Abilities walk to wildlife pond and picnic benches; managed by volunteers from the community, a magic wood much loved by children of all ages. More info
Glen Affric, reached via the delightful town of Beauly. Glen Affric is one of several rewilding projects conducted by the Trees for Life charity, with the objective of restoring and expanding stands of ancient Caledonian pines to their former glory. Important habitat for native species. Area of great scenic beauty. Would combine with visit to Beauly or, if you prefer, the excellent Tomich Café on our way to the thundering Plodda Falls.
Ledmore & Clashmore Woods, East Sutherland, formerly part of Andrew Carnegie’s Skibo Estate, nowadays managed by the Woodland Trust. Walks of various degrees of difficulty (the easiest one is along the shore of Loch Migdale). More info