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

Alladale Wilderness Reserve (by arrangement); inland from Ardgay in Sutherland – an experiment in rewilding. More info here and here

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

Burgie Arboretum, Forres, located just off the A96 heading east from Inverness to Forres; restoration (project) of extensive 19th c. pivate woodlands and woodland and pond garden; mostly walking on level ground, some moderate inclines; stout footwear required. More info here and here

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

Reelig Glen – giant trees, a rushing burn (stream) and a charming grotto; with stop in Beauly (see also Beauly Priory under Cathedrals). More info

Rothiemurchus Estate at Coylumbridge, Cairngorms National Park. Conservation of ancient Scots Pine (Caledonian Forest) and juniper stands, great walks, a loch and numerous activities for all the family. More info here and here