Go on a power trip at Whitelee
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Whitelee was a bleak, boggy moorland. Cotton grass waved in the wind and a few sheep struggled to find something to nibble. Now it’s a mature forest and Scottish Power Renewables have created Britain’s largest onshore windfarm.
The paths and tracks offer superb views across Glasgow and some great long distance routes to walk or ride. The wind turbines add to the fun, appearing suddenly among the trees like an alien spaceship from a Dr Who adventure!
You can explore a mix of wide gravel forest roads and narrow earth paths, with moderate to steep slopes throughout.
The Whitelee ranger service run lots of exciting events and activities throughout the year, come along and learn more about the windfarm and the environment around it.
You’ll find a café and toilets at the Whitelee windfarm visitor centre. There are shops, places to eat and public toilets in Strathaven and East Kilbride.
Mountain biking trails
A forest adventure
Exploring Whitelee can be quite an adventure, with its network of forest roads and paths. You can walk everywhere, but the extent of the forest means it’s a great place for bikes or horses too. From Ardochrig there are number of routes that are mainly flat, with few slopes. Head south to get straight into the forest, or north to discover a wetland area where dragonflies dart over the water in summer.
Ardochrig is the main entrance we use to transport timber off the site. If timber operations are in progress, warning signs will give details.
Go on a power trip
The visitor centre at Whitelee windfarm makes a great outing. Have a go at some of the interactive displays and see if you can satisfy the country’s demand for energy with your selection of power sources. There’s a café and a shop, and a waymarked trail to a viewpoint from where you can see Ben Lomond, Ailsa Craig and Arran.
From lonely moor to power house
Whitelee has been on quite a journey, from poor farming land to productive forest and one of Scotland’s most important renewable energy projects. Creating the forest was an adventure in itself: the wet, boggy ground was difficult to plant, and more than once machines got stuck in the bog – some say they even disappeared!
How to get here
The main entrance to the forest is on Ardochrig Road near Strathaven. From Strathaven, follow the A71 towards Darvel and take the second turning on the right after you leave the built-up area onto an un-signposted road. After about 2 ¾ miles (4.4 km) turn right at the crossroads next to Muirhead Farm onto a single track road. The forest entrance is about 1 ¾ miles (2.8 km) further on, at grid reference NS 645 451.
There’s another forest entrance at Carrot near East Kilbride. Routes from here involve steep slopes form the start. From East Kilbride, take the B764 to Eaglesham. Turn left in the centre of the village onto the hill road to Strathaven. After about ¾ mile (1.2 km), at a junction with a sign to Strathaven to the left, continue straight on a road marked as a dead end. After about ½ mile (800 metres), take a right fork and continue for about 1 ½ miles to the forest access at grid reference NS 576 482. Parking for this access is in a small bell mouth on the right before you reach the private road. Access to Whitelee forest can be taken on foot either along the forest road or a desire line to the rear of Carrot Cottage. Please be considerate to neighbours when parking and using the access paths.
There are informal parking spaces for a small number of cars at both entrances.
G75 0QN is the nearest postcode to the access point on Ardochrig Road. G76 0PW is the nearest postcode to the access point near Carrot.
You can see new forest taking shape, although on a smaller scale than Whitelee, at Old Mine Nature Park in Bellshill. For a peaceful walk in open, mixed woodland, try Windyhill near Johnstone.
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