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.

Space Is The Place: Stargazing in Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park


One of the darkest places in Scotland, Galloway Forest Park became the UK’s first Dark Sky Park in 2009. With light pollution in cities impacting wildlife habitats, human health and biodiversity, finding places to enjoy the majesty of the night sky can be a challenge.

For visitors to Scotland however, Dark Sky events at our Visitor Centre in Kirroughtree offer the perfect chance to stargaze. Whether you’re an experienced telescope owner, night-time photography enthusiast, or just keen to uncover the night sky’s mysteries, the park is for you. Here, you can spot over 7000 stars and planets with the naked eye. You can even see the bright, silvery band of the Milky Way - often hidden by the lights of the cities.

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Top ten archaeology sites in Scotland's forests

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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

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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!

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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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Evergreen Season - Christmas Trees For Sale



This week marks the start of Forestry Commission Scotland’s annual Christmas Tree sale at forests and visitor centres across Scotland, beginning this week with the grand opening of Tyrebagger Christmas Tree Sales Centre (pictured - another happy customer with her tree). Our staff are on hand to help you pick the right tree for your festive season - there’s nothing like the look, feel and scent of a genuine tree to bring on the Christmas spirit!

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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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