A forest adventure is closer than you think. If you’re one of the over 1 million people that call Edinburgh or Glasgow home, you may be surprised to know there are several forests on the doorstep to your city just waiting to be explored.

The forest can mean different things to different people – a place to discover, a place to relax, a place of quiet contemplation. Watch our video to find out what the forest means to some of our regular forest visitors…

Read on to find out which forests are a mere hop, skip and a jump from your own front door…

Forests close to Edinburgh

Lord Ancrum’s Wood

Just a seven-mile bus ride from the heart of Edinburgh, you’ll find the charming Lord Ancrum’s Wood. It’s a popular spot with dog walkers and those studying at the nearby Newbattle Abbey College. Spend an afternoon exploring the lovely paths, relaxing by the river and make sure you listen out for the local wildlife.

To get there, hop on the bus number X95 from Edinburgh bus station and get off opposite Newbattle Cemetery.

craigmillar castle

Craigmillar Castle Park

This 62 hectare site is managed by the City of Edinburgh Council and features parkland, woodland and plenty of open space to run around.

Craigmillar is one of several forests to benefit from our Woodlands In and Around Towns (WIAT) initiative, which aims to encourage more people to use and enjoy their local woodlands.

The once historic site - it dates back to the 1300s – was neglected during the last century and eventually became used as a dumping ground. There were several fires, one of which wiped out over a thousand trees.

However, thanks to WIAT, today the woodland has been transformed. You’ll find an adventure playground, a programme of outdoor learning events and a true sense of community. You can also see the majestic outline of Craigmillar Castle peeking between the trees.

Glentress Forest

An easy bus ride from Edinburgh city centre, this forest offers a welcome escape from the pace of the big city. The X62 bus from Edinburgh city centre will drop you just across the road from Glentress’ entrance.

While this forest is popular with mountain bikers, you don’t need two wheels to get around. Pick from a plethora of trails and relax in the welcoming café afterwards with a warming cuppa.

Forests near Glasgow

castlemilk family


Lying to the south east of Glasgow, you’ll find 40 hectares of mature woodlands managed by the City Council. There’s plenty of open space to run around and a network of paths if you fancy exploring.

Castlemilk is another forest improved by the WIAT programme and has become a great place to visit, enjoyed greatly by the local community. There are events on at this forest throughout the year, from the Halloween Pumpkin Parade to educational nature walks.


Climb to epic views of Glasgow from this hidden gem close to Glasgow Fort retail park in Easterhouse. You’ll find this tiny piece of countryside in the heart of the city, plus lovely trails and plenty of wildlife.

Drumchapel Woods

Nestled in north west Glasgow, Drumchapel Woods comprises of three separate woodlands – Garscadden Burn Park, Garscadden Wood and Cleddans Burn. Here you can attend a free event, or simply enjoy some good old fashioned fresh air.

Wildlife lovers can spot water voles and the butterflies that flit between the wildflowers at Cleddans Burn, while the ancient oaks of Garscadden Wood provide the perfect backdrop to a leisurely walk.

Collectively, Drumchapel Woods have also benefitted from the WIAT programme. The 5km of paths have been upgraded, and there are frequently community events – such as the Branching Out programme for adults using mental health services.

Fantastic forests and wonderful woodlands are just waiting to be discovered. Do you have a favourite forest near Edinburgh or Glasgow? Let us know in the comments below...

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