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10 top spots for forest bathing this autumn

Written by Fiona

October 09 2018

Known in Japan as shinrin-yoku, forest bathing means to “take in the forest atmosphere”. It was first developed in the 1980s and has been making its way across the world ever since.

Put simply, forest bathing is the activity of being in nature and connecting with the forest through our senses of sight, hearing, taste and touch.

You could sit and drink in the forest atmosphere around you, or take a walk through the woodlands.

It is well researched that being amid nature, such as in a forest, is good for your mental health.

It can help to reduce stress and anxiety, alleviate depression and promote a feeling of wellbeing.

While forest bathing is a great activity year-round, autumn offers the added benefit of a fabulous display of colourful foliage.

10 great places for forest bathing

1 Cally Woods

Where: Near Gatehouse of Fleet in Galloway Forest Park

Why?: Lucy, a ranger at Galloway Forest Park, recommends Cally Woods for “lovely for autumn colour”.

She added: “Just a couple of minutes into the walks at Cally, you’ll find two benches that are art installations designed for visitors to sit or lie on and take in the peaceful sounds of the forest.”

Yair Forest.

2 Yair Forest

Where: Near Selkirk, Scottish Borders 

Why?: Lynne, from Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS), recommends the Raelees Trail in Yair forest, where you can find “exquisite ancient woodlands”. Yair is a quiet forest of mature tress and boast some of the best views of the Tweed valley, especially in autumn.

Glenbranter Forest

Where: Strachur, Argyll

Why?: Argyll-based FCS ranger Steve said: “Glenbranter Forest offers a variety of different woodland, with majestic specimens of spruce and fir near the meeting of two small rivers, as well as native broadleaves like oak, hazel and alder lining the waterfalls.”

Uath Lochans. Credit: Colin Leslie

4 Uath Lochans

Where: South of Aviemore, Highlands

Why?: Lucy, a recreation ranger based at Glenmore Forest Park, recommends Uath Lochans, known locally as Badenochs. The woodlands is along a narrow and winding road but well worth the effort to reach. Lucy said: “Take in the atmosphere and peacefulness of these reflective lochans, and explore stunning wetland areas nestled among pines.”

5 Devilla Forest

Where: Near Kincardine, Fife

Why?: Catherine, a FCS ranger based in the Lowlands, recommends Devilla Forest because it is “quiet, calm and easily accessible”.

Buchan Burn, Glentrool.

Glentrool

Where: Galloway Forest Park, Dumfries & Galloway

Why?:  With the rushing waters of Buchan Burn and the Waters of Minnoch always lead you through the woods to some stunning views of the Galloway Hills.

Nearby, you can visit Bruce’s Stone, monument to Robert The Bruce, while the less-visited but still stunningly beautiful and peaceful Knockman Wood is popular with locals and dog walkers, and is a great back-up plan if you find yourself in Glentrool on a busy day.

7 Queen Elizabeth Forest Park

Where: Near Aberfoyle, Stirlingshire

Why?: Enjoy fabulous views of pretty lochs, wooded hills and rugged mountains, or take to the trails on foot or by bike to discover the Forest Park’s magical atmosphere.

8 Cardrona Forest

Where: Tweed Valley Forest Park, Scottish Borders

Why?:  One of the Tweed Valley Forest Park’s larger forests, Cardrona’s trails are tranquil, beautiful and less visited. The gentle cross-country trails are great for strolling and many lead to beautiful hilltop views.

There are plenty of spots to rest, contemplate and take in the calming atmosphere.

Autumn woodland at Loch Dunmore. Faskally Perthshire

9 Faskally

Where: Tay Forest Park, Perthshire.

Why?: Faskally is known as a “model woodland”. It was created in the 19th century by the owners of Faskally House and the result is a stunning woodlands that is perfect for walking.

You’ll find secluded spots beneath majestic oak trees where you can relax for a spot of forest bathing.

While Faskally is always a good choice for a spot of quiet reflection, by night in October, it also hosts the multi-award winning outdoor spectacular, The Enchanted Forest. See www.enchantedforest.org.uk

10 Cademuir

Where: Tweed Valley Forest Park, Scottish Borders

Why?: The smallest forest in the Tweed Valley Forest Park, it offers another peaceful spot perfect for meditation and relaxation. Visitors will also enjoy impressive views over the valley and plenty of opportunities to spot many birds, such as siskins, warblers and crossbills.

For further details of all these top spots see: Scotland.forestry.gov.uk/

This article appeared in the Sunday Mail.

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