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.

Top ten archaeology sites in Scotland's forests

township ruin

Scotland’s forests hold many secrets. Tales of the past echo in the stillness of the trees and ruins remain as a testament to days gone by.

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Top ten perfect picnic spots

family picnic

They say you should plan your meals, but never a picnic - and this is doubly true in Scotland, where even during peak summer time our weather can be changeable! Below, we've got suggestions for easy-to-access picnic spots near you, suggestions for snacks, main meals and drinks, and even some ideas for alternative activities and destinations, in case it starts to rain cats and dogs.

Find the perfect picnic place

The key to planning your picnic is to pack light - take only what you need, and what's easy to carry. Because picnic planning is usually weather-dependent, and often a spontaneous decision spurred on by promising blue skies, we've tried to make your life simple with a few suggestions - make sure you’ve got the essentials ready for a truly great day out.

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Rob Mulholland's Skytower, Rawyards, Airdrie


Image: Ashley Coombes / Rob Mulholland

A new video of the visually striking Skytower sculpture at Rawyards near Airdrie has surfaced online this week, courtesy of YouTube channel Above Scotland. Created by artist Rob Mulholland in 2013, the 6-metre high sculpture was designed with the help of the local community, with assistance from children at local primary schools Clarkston and St Serf’s.

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Walking into 2018: Four forest trails to explore


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For many of us, the start of a new year means making resolutions to get fit and active, and spend more time enjoying the outdoors. A little forward planning can help you stick to your new exercise programme – and the advantages of exercising outdoors cannot be overstated. With no costly gym memberships to worry about, and all of Scotland’s breathtaking natural beauty to explore, getting active in the new year can feed the soul as much as it helps condition the body.

To help you get 2018 off to a great start, we asked some of our colleagues out in the sticks to recommend their favourite new year walk. Whether you’re looking for a challenging climb, a gentle amble through the woods, or a stunning view, we’ve got a recommendation for you! Have fun, dress warmly, and away you go.

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Show Us Your Baubles!

xmas tree blog

Have you bought a beautiful, natural Christmas Tree from us this year? Share the love on social media - once your tree is safely home and decorated to perfection, take a picture with your loved ones and share it with us on Twitter using the hashtag #ShowUsYourBaubles.

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Introducing the Forest Family Bags

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Having a healthy relationship with the outdoors is an absolutely vital part of a child’s life. Outdoor play promotes good health, natural curiosity and environmental awareness, while providing an exciting alternative to more sedentary activities. In a world increasingly saturated with passive entertainment media and electronic distractions, the Forestry Commission want to help kids get back to nature - and families are the focus of our new project, the Forest Family Bag.

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National Tree Week: Prayer of the Woods

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Photo: Prayer of The Woods by Charles Dawley (Creative Commons)

Walking through the forests and national parks of North America, at some point you are bound to come across a version of the ‘Prayer of the Woods’. Usually carved on a plaque at the entrance to a forest trail, the ‘prayer’ takes the form of a short poem presented as an anonymous work. While its most common title is ‘Prayer of the Woods’ it does not have a religious origin. It is translated from an older work, originally written in Portuguese, and first carved in wood in the gardens surrounding the beautiful Castelo de Sao Jorge in Lisbon.

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National Tree Week: Introducing The Tree Charter

Learn more about the Tree Charter

The Tree Council’s nation-wide celebration of National Tree Week (25 Nov- 3 Dec) is fast approaching. At the start of November, the Council and dozens of partner organisations and charities got together to create The Tree Charter, or to give it its full title, The Charter for Woods, Trees and People. A mini-manifesto of sorts, the Charter is intended to help communities, individuals and trees to stand together. It looks at the common aims of our forests and the people who live around them, encouraging and supporting the growth of volunteer organisations involved in tree planting, wildlife conservation, and green activities. The charter celebrates the 800th anniversary of a very important moment in history for Britain’s forests.

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5 great nature poems for National Poetry Day

We have a rich heritage of capturing the landscape in verse. From antiquity to the present, it’s been the sparking flint to a poet’s imagination. It fuels the pens that capture our fascination and communion with natural world. Whether you're stuck inside, or want inspiration for your next trip, cinematic nature poetry can bring the outside to you.

Read on to discover our favourite stanzas and try writing your own nature-inspired haiku.

1. Elizabeth Bishop – The Moose

elizabeth poem

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