Tales from the forest

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

Go Wild: Summer Events in the Forest!

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With Scotland currently enjoying its hottest summer since records began, there's no excuse for staying home all day this July and August. The summer holidays are the perfect time to  explore Scotland's best-loved wild places. With a little planning, its easy to find the perfect picnic spot, or activities that won't break the bank. Why not get outside and soak up some of that lovely and much-needed Vitamin D?

If your little ones are already bored of video games and TV (or even if they need to be dragged away kicking and screaming!), the good news is that Scotland's forests are jam-packed with events, races, activities and fun days, from bug hunts to den building and beyond. There are even some exciting events aimed at the grown-ups this year, from a beer festival to mountain bike challenges, fishing trips, and volunteer opportunities to get the heart pumping.

We are adding new events near you all the time - keep up to date by checking our listings at scotland.forestry.gov.uk/activities/events, checking the 'Activities' tab on the pages of your favourite destinations and following us on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-the-minute news. Remember to stay hydrated, stay safe, and most importantly... have fun!

Summer Family Nature Club at The Lodge, Aberfoyle

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On the hunt for bugs at the Summer Family Nature Club!

A highlight of the summer programme at The Lodge, Aberfoyle is the Summer Family Nature Club, which we run in association with the RSPB. Taking place most weekends during July and August (see Events page for details), these fun-filled morning events are aimed at kids of all ages, providing an opportunity to learn about the array of wildlife in Aberfoyle, from birds of prey to butterflies, red squirrels and ladybirds. Featuring fun games, wildlife watching, and guided craft activities building homes for birds and beasties, this is the perfect start to a summer's day for any little ones claiming boredom. Times vary, and the cost is £4 for non-RSPB members and £3 for members, with under-3s going free.

Where: The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre

Dates & Times: 10.00am, various dates

Cost: £4 non- RSPB member, £3 RSPB member (adults and under 3s free of charge)

Den Building and Guide In The Hide at Kirroughtree

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You never know who you might find in a woodland den...

Over July and August, the staff at Kirroughtree are running their regular, drop-in 'Guide In The Hide' sessions (17 / 24 / 31 July), an informal session hosted at Kirroughtree's Wild Watch Hide, where kids and adults are encouraged to come and observe woodland creatures in their natural habitats, at close range. Forestry Commission rangers will be standing by to answer questions and point out small details you might miss on your own - so pop down and join them! Details can be found on our Events page.

If something a little more hands-on appeals, join us in August for one of our popular (and free!) den-building sessions (2 & 9 August). Join our rangers as they guide you through how to make your very own family woodland den. Great for 7 years and above, these are popular sessions, so give the Visitor Centre a call on 01671 402994 to book in advance.

Where: Kirroughtree Visitor Centre

Dates & Times: Various dates and times from 10 July onwards

Cost: Free, no need to book

Saturday 14 July: BioBlitz at Callendar Wood

Ever dreamed of becoming a fully-fledged wildlife explorer? This year, wildlife presenter Chris Packham wants to start a Citizen Science Revolution with his 'We Want Wildlife' campaign. It's a national, week-long event aimed at documenting the UK's stunning biodiversity - and we need YOU to help out! We're offering kids and adults the chance to explore their local forest, and discover what’s living right on their doorstep by joining in at the Callendar Wood BioBlitz.

Join our team of experienced naturalists and wildlife watchers - we need your help to find and identify as many different species of birds, bugs, plants and beasties as we can before the clock runs out. Just like a real scientific expedition, everything our intrepid explorers find will be documented and passed on to local and national databases that monitor our local wildlife. The event starts at 10am on Saturday 14 July, with expeditions leaving from Callendar Wood. Find out what is happening on the day here, and if you want to take part, there's
no need to book your place. Just turn up in plenty of time at the BioBlitz Base Camp! If you have any questions, you can email our staff at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or check the Callendar Wood BioBlitz information page: www.bnhc.org.uk/bioblitz/callendar-wood-bioblitz

Where: Callendar Wood

Date & Time: 14 July, 10.00am - 5.00pm

Cost: Free, no need to book

Saturday 28 July: Beer Festival at The Peel Café, Glentress

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The staff at the Peel Café look forward to welcoming you to their beer festival!

It's the school summer holidays, but why should the kids have all the fun? Treat the grown-ups to a day out at the Peel Café Craft Beer Festival! A ticket entitles you to sample ten taster beers, and you can even keep your sampling glass as a souvenir. Try top brews from the likes of Innis & Gunn, BrewDog, Caledonian, Maltsmiths, Hydro Brewery, Born in the Borders and more. Enjoy live music, a sizzling BBQ and scrumptious food and drink stalls. Hic!

Where: The Peel Café, Glentress

When: 28 July, 5.00pm - 10.00pm

Cost: £10/15 a ticket

Sunday 29 July: Top Dogs Day Out at Glenmore

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Doggos need holiday fun too - and what could be more fun than a sausage race? Meat-themed competitive sports aside, the Top Dogs Day Out will appeal to good boys as it will to bad dogs, with the chance to put your pooch through her paces with obstacle and obedience courses, stunt biscuit-catching, and all sorts of fun, from 12pm onwards. For the humans, there's a BBQ van, and kids activities - head up to the Glenmore Visitor Centre to grab an activity pack for just £2 (available 10am - 4.00pm, 30 June - 2 September). 

Where: Glenmore Visitor Centre

Date & Time: 29 July, 12.00pm - 4.00pm

Cost: £3 per dog (includes free goody bag)

Mountain Bike races in the stunning Tweed Valley

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Some intense downhill action at another 7Stanes destination, Kirroughtree

Our 7Stanes mountain bike destinations are some of the busiest and most popular in the UK. A number of independent operators use them, throughout the year, for professional and semi-professional cross-country and downhill competitions - if you are an experienced trail rider, you could try your hand at one of these, and who knows, perhaps cover yourself in glory! Although all things considered, mud is much more likely.

The annual Tweedlove Bike Festival may have finished at the end of June, but the organisation have many events over the rest of the year, including the popular King & Queen of the Hill open race (18 & 19 August). If your kids are mountain bike crazy, get them involved in the 6th annual Peebles Cycle Club Kids Race (2 September). Keep up to date with what's on at our 7Stanes destinations by following @7stanes on Twitter, and checking the Bike Events Scotland page regularly!

Where: Glentress

When: Tweedlove King & Queen of the Hill, 18 & 19 August | PCC Kids Race, 2 September (see websites for starting times)

Cost: Varies (see websites)

Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 July: The Big Dig at Innerleithen 

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Volunteers doing some trail development at Glentress this April - thanks folks!

Some of the most important work at Forestry Commission sites is undertaken by volunteers - we are always on the look out for members of the public who want to get stuck in and help us maintain, take care of and expand Scotland's forests. One key activity we undertake which would be much more challenging without volunteers, are trail building and trail maintenance at our mountain-biking sites. We have two days of trail-building taking place at Innerleithen in late July -  our team are revamping the bottom of the Cresta Run Downhill Trail (9am – 1pm, both days), and you can sign up to help here for Saturday and here for Sunday (Sun).

We regularly announce volunteering sessions at our MTB destinations via the 7Stanes Facebook page, so keep an eye out for more dates coming soon. The July dates at Innerleithen are organised in association with Adrenalin Uplift, with support from Glentress Trailfairies, Tweedlove, Tweed Valley Trails Association, Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland and local businesses – so it's a big collective effort! There's a real team spirit, with everyone getting stuck in, as you can see from the pictures above, captured at our last trail repair weekend at Innerleithen as part of the Europe-wide Take Care of Your Trails Initiative.

Where: Innerleithen

When: 28 & 29 July, 9.00am - 1.00pm

Cost: Free

5 August: Search & Rescue Fun Day at The Lodge

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Not one of the actual Trossachs' rescue dogs, but a Good Boy nonetheless.

Keeping people safe in Scotland's forests, on our lochs and up our mountains is an absolutely vital service, and the brave men and women who look after us if we get lost while exploring are often unpaid volunteers. Meet these unsung heroes in the flesh at The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre this August, as the Trossachs Search and Rescue Team join in on a day of fun, with face painting, a tombola, and live demonstrations of dramatic life-saving techniques, like CPR.

This is a unique opportunity to learn all about how volunteer rescue services contribute to the community. You'll also get to meet one of their canine companions, one of the dedicated search and rescue dogs who are such a vital part of the team. This promises be a fun and informative day out for the whole family!

Where: The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre

When: 5 August, 12.00pm - 4.00pm

Cost: Free

12 August: Fishing at Loch Grannoch, Clatteringshaws

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We'll finish up our wee summer events round-up with a perennial favourite... fishing! While some bring their rods and tackle to catch a tasty treat for that evening's tea, many people love fishing just for the atmosphere, and the rest and relaxation it offers. Fishing is a great way to unplug, and bask in the peace and calm of nature. On picturesque Loch Grannoch at Clatteringshaws, you can Join our friendly staff for this popular day of fishing, with basic fishing rods and bait available for hire if pre-booked.

If you've never tried fishing before, this is a great session to learn the basics from. The sessions are popular, and booking is essential - call 0300 067 6800 to reserve your spot, with children's places going for £5, and £10 for adults.. Expeditions leave from the Riverside car park at the end of the Raiders Road Forest Drive - more details over at our Events page.

Where: Clatteringshaws

When: 12 August, 9.00am - 4.00pm (and throughout September)

Cost: £10 adults, £5 children

Saturday 11 August: Come & Try Championships at Cuningar Loop

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Compete across the Clyde as Glasgow hosts the European Come and Try Championships in Cuningar Loop Woodland Park on Saturday 11 August. Between 11am and 3pm, qualified instructors will help you have a go at a range of adventurous activities, from climbing and cycling to orienteering, tai-schi and more. One of the Legacy 2014 projects celebrating the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Cuningar Loop is an attractive outdoor activity park, with Scotland's first outdoor bouldering course, bike tracks, woodland workout stations and more.

The Come and Try Championships is a great excuse to try out all of the on-site facilities for the first time - all ages and abilities are welcome. For more information about the day's events, you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Let the games begin!

Where: Cuningar Loop

When: 11 August, 11.00am - 3.00pm

Cost: Free, no booking required. Sessions operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions.

Some more bright ideas...

 


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