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Our visitor centres are currently closed. Our trails for walking and biking, as well as toilets and car parks, remain open. Plan ahead and enjoy your visit safely.

Thornielee

Where we are

COVID-19 update

All FLS visitor centres are currently closed. Walking and mountain bike trails remain open, as do most toilets and car parks, but do check below for local updates for closures.

We want to ensure your visit is an enjoyable and safe one.

Make sure you follow the Scottish Government’s FACTS advice – helping to protect yourself, your family and your local community, and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code helping to keep Scotland beautiful.

Thornielee Forest Notice

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.  

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.

Guide map to Tweed Valley Forest Park (PDF 3.8MB)

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

'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 & access

Parking icon
Parking
Picnic area
Picnic area

The nearest public toilets are in Innerleithen or Galashiels.

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

Get in touch

Have a question or suggestion for improvement?

Phone
0300 067 6900 (option 1)
More contact information

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