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Big Tree Country

Tay Forest Park is in the heart of Perthshire, the Big Tree Country. Here you can find some of Scotland’s most beautiful woodlands as well as remarkable record-breaking trees. There are some spectacular soaring specimens within the Forest Park – follow any of the colourful woodland trails through Craigvinean, Drummond Hill and Weem to find them.

Reaching for the skies

Two of Scotland’s most impressive Douglas Firs grow near Dunkeld. Visit the Hermitage, the National Trust for Scotland’s woodland beside Craigvinean, to find one of the tallest trees in the UK. It stands 194 feet (59 metres) tall, yet it’s only about 130 years old. By contrast, one of the much older Douglas firs growing beside nearby Dunkeld Cathedral has the biggest girth of its species in the UK at 23 feet (7 metres).

Introducing the exotic

Douglas firs are named after one of Scotland’s greatest plant hunters, David Douglas. Many Perthshire lairds employed plant hunters in the early 19th century to collect the seeds of exotic species from America and Asia, including the Menzies family of Weem who planted grand trees around their castle. Their gardener was Archibald Menzies who later became a noted botanist and plant collector.

Perthshire best known leafy record breakers

The Fortingall Yew is believed to have been standing in the village of the same name for at least 2,000 years. It’s almost certainly the oldest tree in Britain and probably the oldest living thing in Europe.

Meikleour’s remarkable beech hedge was planted in 1745 and is now a whopping 100 feet (30 metres) high and 1/3 mile (530 metres) long, while the ancient Birnam Oak beside the Tay is said to be the last surviving tree from Birnam Wood, made famous in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.