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Some visitor centres are open – check individual web pages for more information. Our trails, toilets and car parks remain open. Plan ahead and enjoy your visit safely.

Staff members standing by a car with a map, while observing the habitat.

Scotland's forests have been exploited and managed for thousands of years. While there are no truly natural woodlands left, we have semi-natural woodland, and plantations where trees are grown for a specific purpose.

Exploring these forests provides clues to the past, including archaeological remains of the people who lived in and used these forests centuries ago.

Woodland use

Wood has many uses. It has always been an important material for building, and farming tenants depended on this material to build their homes in townships.

During the 18th century, wood, primarily in the form of charcoal, was an important fuel for the growing industries in Scotland. At the same time, many landowners began to plant forests. Some created woodlands as environments to enjoy for recreation.

During World War I and World War 2, Scotland’s wood was used to supply the war effort. After World War I, the government set up the Forestry Commission to grow wood for the nation and so ensure that Britain always had a supply of wood.

Scotland's forests today

Today we continue to grow trees for timber. The woodlands are also managed to benefit an amazing variety of wildlife, and to provide places for the public to visit and enjoy.

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