The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre - 60 years and counting!
One of Aberfoyle’s best known tourist attractions and a hub for visitors to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park has reached the grand age of 60!
Forestry and Land Scotland’s Lodge Forest visitor centre first opened its doors in August 1960 as David Marshall Lodge – named after the 1950s chairman of the Carnegie UK Trust, which helped fund the construction of the lodge.
Originally intended to be built in the Peak District, the Trust changed its mind after a local outcry over building a ‘tea pavillion’ and opted to build it in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.
And the rest, as they say……
Mairi Buchanan, FLS Visitror Services Supervisor in aberfoyle, said;
"It’s amazing to think that for 60 years, the Lodge has been offering people of all ages a relaxing haven where they can come and unwind, experience the calmness of nature and learn a bit about our forests and the wildlife that can be found there.
“It was way ahead of its time when it was built - public access and recreation needs, as well as environmental considerations, were quite new ideas in the 1960s. Yet here we are, 60 years on and the Lodge is still going strong, welcoming and informing thousands of visitors every year.
“It’s unfortunate that because of COVID-19 our celebrations were not as high flying as we’d have liked, but with all of the required measures in place to help keep people safe, we’re beginning to welcome more and more people back.
“Here’s to the next milestone – at 75!”
Due to COVID-19 restrictions celebrations were put on hold but a displays have been prepared – digital and physical – that feature images of the Lodge through the decades, combined with visitor’s memories of trips to the Lodge – for duck races, wedding pictures and the unveiling of the Lumberjills memorial, amongst many more.
It is hoped that anniversary celebrations can be rescheduled later in the year when the Lodge and its facilities fully re-open.
The displays will be kept on show in the building to help explain another dimension of FLS’s forestry, conservation and tourism work in the QEFP.
A well-loved location and facility that has grown and evolved over the decades, the B listed building has been extended and refurbished over the years but was fully remodeled in 2012/2013 to enhance the visitor experience and attract more visitors to the park.
The renamed Lodge Forest Visitor Centre reopened on the 19th August 2013 as a ‘flag ship’ centre for the area.
Notes to editors
Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.