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Storm Clean-up: Many of our forests, especially in the east and south of Scotland, remain closed. Please plan ahead and check online before visiting.

Thornielee

Where we are

Latest forest information

Forests all across Scotland have been seriously affected by recent storms. We are doing everything we can to make our forests safe for visitors, communities, forest businesses and our staff. However, many of our forests remain closed while others have significant diversions and access restrictions for the foreseeable future. Please keep safe and follow all closure notices and safety signage.

Take care on or around open water. Find out more on our Water Safety page.

Storm Damage Update - 17 December 2021

  • The Meadow Trail is now open. 
  • The Cairn Trail remains closed at this time. 

Please keep checking the web pages for further updates as we continue to work towards opening more trails.     

During winter months the gates to the car park may be closed for safety reasons, due to snow and ice. Please park appropriately, without blocking gates or access for emergency vehicles.  

About

Stunning views and quirky history at a butterfly hotspot

There are walks, wildlife, stunning views and quirky history to discover at this quiet forest. The grassy slopes below the car park are just right for butterflies like the Small Copper and the Northern Brown Argus.

One of the folk tales collected by Sir Walter Scott in his Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders tells of Muckle Mou’d (big mouthed) Meg, the notoriously ugly daughter of the Murray family. You’ll find out how she found true love from interpretation panels near the car park. Look out for the ruins of Elibank Castle, the Murrays’ home, which you can still see across the valley.

Thornielee route card (PDF)

Walking trails

Walking

Meadow Trail

A gentle meander with plenty of places to sit. Spot the butterflies this forest is renowned for, or the anthills on the edge of the pines.

Largely firm gravel surface, with some loose stones. Some short moderate slopes and a few steeper ramps. Regular seats along route.

Easy trail grade icon
½ miles / 1.0 km

Allow
¼ hours

More information

Sit patiently for a while in summer and you'll meet some of the fascinating small inhabitants of Thornielee. The forest is renowned for its butterfly population, especially the south-facing grassy slopes below the car park, warmed by the sun. Look for Northern Brown Argus, a priority species for conservation that usually flies in June, and the pretty Small Copper, which can be seen in May and June.

Walking

Cairn Trail (closed)

A trail notice is in effect

Due to storm damage. 

'A long climb to the top of Thornielee Forest is rewarded with magnificent views.

Rough earth and grass paths with exposed tree roots and several muddy sections. Long steep slopes for up to 500m.

Strenuous trail grade icon
2 ½ miles / 4.1 km

Allow
1½ hours

More information

Discover the Shepherd’s Cairns, impressive jumbles of stones that were once a burial place. Nobody knows whose body lay here, but the views over the Tweed Valley make it a wonderful resting place.

Activities

Trails in Thornielee

Thornielee offers something for everyone with quiet walking paths and testing mountain biking trails. Find out more about how we’re working to create ideal environments for walking, mountain biking and horse riding in the Tweed Valley Forest Park.

Tweed Valley Zoning Plan (PDF 6MB)

Facilities and access

Walking
Walking
Parking icon
Parking
Viewpoint
Viewpoint
Picnic area
Picnic area
Ancient monument
Ancient monument

The nearest public toilets are in Innerleithen or Galashiels.

Car parking information

There is no charge to park in this car park. Please park with care and consideration. In particular please park in designated parking areas only and do not block entrances or gates.

More about parking

Getting here

Thornielee forest is halfway between Innerleithen and Galashiels on the A72. Look for the car park on the north side of the road, ½ mile west of Thornylee village.

Using SatNav?

TD1 3LN is the nearest postcode.

Public transport

Buses between Galashiels and Innerleithen can stop at the forest on request. Plan your journey at Traveline Scotland.

Get directions

Nearby forests

Man in blue jacket walking beside young girl carrying a stick on woodland path, Glenkinnon, near Clovenford

A riverside trail through protected, ancient woodland

Facilities and activities
Walking
Walking
Parking icon
Parking
Picnic area
Picnic area
Distance from 'Thornielee': 1.68 miles
Man mountain biking through woods in Autumn at Innerleithen

The best downhill and enduro mountain-biking in the area

Facilities and activities
Walking
Walking
Mountain biking
Mountain biking
Parking (charge)
Parking (charge)
Viewpoint
Viewpoint
Picnic area
Picnic area
Distance from 'Thornielee': 2.62 miles
Man stands at sculptures on Pirn Hill Fort Trail, overlooking Innerleithen, Caberston

A forested climb to the site of an Iron Age hill fort

Facilities and activities
Walking
Walking
Viewpoint
Viewpoint
Ancient monument
Ancient monument
Distance from 'Thornielee': 2.70 miles

Get in touch

Have a question or suggestion for improvement?

Phone
0300 067 6900 (option 1)
More contact information

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