Tales from the forest

Inspiration, stories and an insider's glimpse into the world of Scotland's forests

Tales from the forest

Welcome to the Forestry Commission Scotland blog. Here you'll find inspiration, stories and an insider's glimpse into the world of Scotland's forests.


10 things to do this autumn

There’s no denying that autumn in Scotland is glorious. There's a nip in the air, the return of pumpkin spice, and the leaves start their spectacular show.

To help you make the most of this special season, we've put together a list of some of our favourite budget-friendly things to do. Find out why we think autumn in the forest is so magical.

1. Colour chemistry explained

Scotland has some of the best autumn colours in the world. Leaves change from verdant green to dazzling golds and fiery reds. But have you ever wondered why this happens?

Leaf science isn’t as confusing as all the long words and technical terms make it sound. It all comes down to the fact that different chemical pigments in leaves determine the colours we see. Find out more in our colour chemistry blog before you head out to find them.

autumn colours red

Read more...


John Muir: the Scot pioneer of the modern conservation movement

John Muir was more than an explorer; the Scottish-American was a writer, inventor, botanist, shepherd, geologist and mountaineer, and more. He inspired the creation of national parks, had walking trails named in his honour, been featured on two US commemorative postage stamps and is celebrated each year on 21 April.

Credited for spearheading the conservation movement, Muir inspires people across the globe to explore the wilderness. We take a brief trip through his life, from childhood in Scotland's east coast, to friendship with a US President.

john muir sitting by mirror lake, yosemite

Read more...


Climb every mountain

There’s plenty to see outdoors, especially in a country as glorious as Scotland. Summer is the perfect time to take on a challenge with the longer days and (mostly) good weather.

Why not explore the lay of the land and burn some calories summiting some of Scotland’s best hills and mountains? From short steep hikes to longer winding roads, there’s plenty to choose from no matter where you live.

clouds over north face at ben nevis

Read more...


Postcards from a travelling archaeologist: Crichton Church

To celebrate the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, we asked our archaeologist ‘Travelling’ Matt to send us postcards from his fieldwork around the country.

Over the year, Matt has promised to send us a postcard from some of the amazing places he finds himself in, describing the archaeology and talking to the Forestry Rangers who care for it.

Last time Matt was exploring the WWII archaeology of Lossie Forest in Moray – and a new postcard has just arrived!

crichton church postcard

Read more...


Postcards from a travelling archaeologist: Lossie

To celebrate the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, we asked our archaeologist ‘Travelling’ Matt to send us postcards from his fieldwork around the country.

Over the course of the year, Matt has promised to send us a postcard from some of the amazing places he finds himself in, describing the archaeology and talking to the Forestry Rangers who care for it.

Last time Matt was visiting a palisaded enclosure at Glentress – but a new postcard has just arrived!

postcard image with text

Read more...


8 simple ways to recharge your mind and body in the forest

Nowadays it feels like we never have a minute to stop and just relax. We’re so busy that there’s always something going on; whether it’s work, family, emotional, or other aspects of our lives. It can feel like there are always things to do or to worry about. 

Being active and getting outdoors regularly is a great way to keep healthy and fit physically. It can also play an important role in your mental wellbeing. Research suggests exercise can enhance the body’s ability to respond to stress, and increases norepinephrine levels, which helps moderate the brain’s stress-response.

man in hammock at Lodge Visitor Centre

Read more...


Postcards from a travelling archaeologist: Castle Hill

To celebrate the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, we asked our archaeologist ‘Travelling’ Matt to send us postcards from his fieldwork around the country.

Over the course of the year, Matt has promised to send us a postcard from some of the amazing places he finds himself in, describing the archaeology and talking to the Forestry Rangers who care for it.

Last time Matt was visiting a clapper bridge in Knapdale – but a new postcard has just arrived!

travelling matt castle postcard

Read more...


Looking for lichens

We see lichens all the times – in forests, on walls, even at the top of a mountain we’ve just clambered up – but how often do you actually notice them?

With amazing names like Reindeer Moss and Old Man’s Beard, and amazing colours, there’s far more to lichens than meets the eye. They’ve provided us with a source for bright and beautiful dyes, and been used as components in traditional medicine. They also provide us with useful information about how clean our air is.

lichens reindeer lichen

Read more...


Postcards from a travelling archaeologist: Achnamara

To celebrate the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, we asked our archaeologist ‘Travelling’ Matt to send us postcards from his fieldwork around the country.

Over the course of the year, Matt has promised to send us a postcard from some of the amazing places he finds himself in, describing the archaeology and talking to the Forestry Rangers who care for it.

Last time Matt was playing the Timeline Tournament in Culbokie on the Black Isle – but a new postcard has just arrived!

travelling matt clapper bridge text

Read more...