Calm the senses in Callendar Wood
Falkirk’s picturesque Callendar Wood is at least 500 years old. The wood and adjacent parkland were once the gardens and grounds of Callendar House, a family home for centuries and now a fascinating museum.
Explore historic paths and estate carriageways to find panoramic viewpoints, majestic old oaks and sweet chestnuts, yew groves and tree-lined avenues as well as a mausoleum built as a tribute to the Forbes family, Victorian kennels, mining remains and a hill fort. The ancient woodland is also alive with wildlife – what will you see?
The Callendar Wood guide has more info including a map of the walking trails.
There is a café and toilets, including accessible facilities, at Callendar House, which is open year-round, and a refreshment kiosk in Callendar Park in the summer. You can find more places to eat, drink and shop in Falkirk.
A charming tour of Callendar Park and the native oak woodland above. The route passes tranquil Callendar Loch and the Forbes family Mausoleum.
Wide, firm and largely smooth gravel and tarmac surface. Long moderate slopes with regular resting places. Some slightly uneven sections.
2 miles / 3.4 km Allow 1 hour
This scenic circuit of Callendar Wood and Park is suitable for everyone. Look out for dense lumps of Yew and other specimen conifers, as well as the Forbes family Mausoleum enclosed within a vast circular wall above Callendar Loch.
A longer trail following many of the traditional carriageways through Callendar Wood that are lined with specimen trees. The route passes the Victorian kennels, Henry’s Hill and the Barrel Well.
Wide, firm gravel and tarmac surface, with some slightly uneven sections. Long moderate slopes for up to 600m.
3 miles / 4.7 km Allow 1½ hours
These roads were laid in the nineteenth century with trees like lime, sweet chestnut and copper beech along their route.
Mountain biking trails
Discover wildflowers and wildlife in Callendar Wood
You can often identify old woodland by the wildflowers that grow there, and Callendar Wood is no exception. Look out for bluebells, primroses and white wood anemones in spring, and yellow pimpernel, white wood sorrel and red campion in summer. Surprisingly, although we know this wood has been here for many centuries, the oldest trees we’ve found are some oaks planted in the 1750s.
The woods are also home to plenty of wildlife. Watch for roe deer, foxes and badgers, especially at dawn and dusk. Listen for the drumming of green and great spotted woodpeckers and the noisy chatter of colourful jays. You may also spot sparrowhawks and buzzards hunting overhead.
From working wood to elegant estate
The ancient woodland at Callendar is a remarkable survivor. It has been growing here, forming a dramatic backdrop to the town of Falkirk, since at least 1595. Originally, many oaks were planted here for timber and to provide bark for the local leather tanning industry.
The Forbes family, who lived at Callendar House, bought the wood in 1783 and landscaped it, creating a stunning setting for their grand home. They added many elegant shrubs and trees, including specimen conifers from America and the Far East, following the fashion of the time and showing off their wealth. Look out for an even older story written in this landscape too, including an Iron Age hill fort and a stretch of the Roman Antonine Wall. Visit Callendar House, now a free museum, to find out more.
Historic Callendar Park
Callendar Woods are part of Callendar Park. It’s a great place for the whole family – there’s a play area, pedalos, crazy golf and much more. Explore the historic house, enjoy a woodland stroll, visit the pretty loch, find the arboretum and other fascinating estate buildings or just relax in the lovely gardens with a picnic. The Park and House are looked after today by Falkirk Community Trust.
How to get here
Callendar Wood is in Falkirk. It is easy to reach from junctions 5 and 6 of the M9 motorway.
The main car park for Callendar Park is off Estate Avenue at Seaton Place, grid reference NS 897 794. Follow brown signs for ‘Callendar House & Park’.
There is also parking at Callendar Business Park, off Callendar Boulevard, at grid reference NS 904 792. Alternatively, you can walk into the wood from Kemper Avenue, where there is plenty of on-street parking.
FK1 1YR is the postcode for Callendar House and Park.
Falkirk has two railway stations: Falkirk High and Falkirk Grahamstown. Regular buses run from there to Callendar Park. For details visit Traveline Scotland.
Other woods near Falkirk include Devilla, a beautiful pinewood that’s great for family walks and cycle rides. Look out for red squirrels and stone circles as you explore. At Larbert Woods you’ll find peaceful green space and a wildlife haven on an historic estate. Carron Valley has scenic family-friendly trails beside the reservoir and exhilarating mountain bike trails in the woods.
While you’re here, don’t miss the spectacular Falkirk Wheel, a rotating boat lift that links the Union and Forth & Clyde canals.
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