Wild Scotland on your doorstep, with trails to fantastic views, amazing wildlife and remarkable history

Carron Valley

Come and get active at Carron Valley

Get a taste of the Highlands in this rolling forest on the shores of the Carron Valley reservoir. Enjoy an easy waterside stroll or family cycle ride, a blast through the forest by mountain bike or tackle the distinctive peak of the Meikle Bin for panoramic views over central Scotland.

These woods are alive with wildlife and history – discover standing stones, old drove roads and a reconstructed Iron Age fort, spot red squirrels and crossbills in the trees and watch for ospreys and waterbirds from the lochside hide.

You can download our Carron Valley Walking Trails leaflet or Carron Valley Mountain Biking leaflet to help explore the area.

Parking (charge) Picnic area Walking Viewpoint

Life’s essentials

There are toilets in the main car park, including accessible facilities, which are open year-round. Find places to eat, drink and shop at the nearby towns of Fintry, Denny and Kilsyth.

Parking and picnicking

Car parking at Carron Valley is available all year round. Stroll across the little bridge beside the car park to reach a pretty picnic spot on a grassy island in the Carron River. There is also a small car park at the other end of the reservoir called Todholes.

Car parking charges

Please note, parking charges are as follows:

£1 for up to 1 hour

£2 for up to 3 hours

£3 for all day

£12 for minibus and coach all day

Season passes are also available. For more information please contact us.

Walking trails

Cycling trails

Mountain biking trails

Watching wildlife at Carron Valley

A host of iconic Scottish species make their home in this forest, including Scottish crossbills, red deer and red squirrels, as well as elusive pine martens and wildcats. In summer, watch out for butterflies in woodland glades, dragonflies near the water’s edge and ospreys fishing for trout and powan in the reservoir. Greylag geese can be seen here year-round and, if you are very lucky, you might spot a hen harrier overhead or glimpse a black grouse in a grassy clearing. There are hides along the reservoir ideal for bird watching.

Fishing on the reservoir

Carron Valley reservoir is one of the most scenic trout fisheries in Scotland. Stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout swim in the reservoir, which was built in the 1930s and is cared for today by Scottish Water. For more information, and to buy permits for bank and boat fishing, contact Carron Valley Fishery.

Mountain biking at Carron Valley

Fast, fun and purpose-built for year round use – the Carron Valley mountain bike trails are guaranteed to bring you back for more. The natural beauty of the area, combined with panoramic views, makes for ‘big country’ biking in the heart of Scotland, within easy reach of the major cities. There are 6½ miles (10.5km) of red-grade trails and ¾ mile (1.2km) of orange extreme freeride. Use the trail tabs and download the Carron Valley trail map to find out more.

Heading for the hill

The distinctive peak of Meikle Bin looms enticingly above the forest. It’s a steep climb up through the woods and onto the open hill to reach the summit, but well worth it for the panoramic views across the whole of central Scotland. Park at Todholes, at the western end of the reservoir, for the quickest way onto the hill. Be aware that the route is not waymarked , so you need to take a map and compass with you. Remember that even in summer the weather can change very quickly here, so be prepared.

History comes alive at Carron Valley

This landscape is rich in history. Explore the forest to find standing stones, old cattle drove roads and fisher paths and, near the western end of the reservoir, the remains of the 13th century fort of John de Graham of Dundaff, who fought alongside William Wallace. Park at Todholes, at the other end of the reservoir, to reach the fort. History is literally alive in the forest too – the Clanranald Trust is constructing a full-scale replica medieval village in the woods, called Duncarron. They often host costumed re-enactments and exciting living history events.

Contact: Scottish Lowlands Forest District

Address: Five Sisters House, Five Sisters Business Park, West Calder

Postcode: EH55 8PN

Telephone: 0300 067 6700


How to get here

Carron Valley Forest lies beside the B818, west of Denny in Stirlingshire.

Take the B818 west from Denny, signposted to Fintry. The car park is on the left after about 6 miles (10km), at grid reference NS 721 848. The car park is open from 7.30am to 9.00pm in summer and 7.30am to 6.00pm in the winter.

There is also a small parking area at Todholes at the other end of the reservoir.

Using SatNav?

FK6 5JL is the nearest postcode for the main car park.

Nearby places

Callendar Wood is over 500 years old, and full of fascinating historic features. Larbert Woods is a peaceful green space and wildlife haven on an historic estate; an ideal place for an easy stroll at any time of the year. At Nethercroy you’ll find lovely wildflower meadows, open woodland and a Roman frontier above the Forth & Clyde Canal.

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For questions and complaints, please contact us directly.