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Tentsmuir

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Latest forest information

  • Harvesting operations will be taking place throughout winter 2022/23, restricting access to some parts of Tentsmuir forest and to Morton Lochs. Read below for full details and map.

Open water

  • This destination contains areas of open water which can be hazardous if you are not suitably prepared. Follow our water safety advice and take care.

About

Walk with the waves and spot sea-shells among the dunes

Tentsmuir is a magical combination of forest trails that dip and weave between tall trees and open sand dunes. There’s rich wildlife, from coastal grassland dotted with wildflowers in spring and summer to great flocks of sea birds that come to feed on shellfish.

If you're lucky you may see red squirrels in the trees, and roe deer weaving through the undergrowth. You might even see seals basking on the sand!

The Morton Lochs on the western edge of the forest are part of Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve and there are four hides where you can watch waterbirds and dragonflies. The dunes and sand flats at Tentsmuir Point and Tayport Heath are all part of the reserve too.

People have lived, hunted and worked here for thousands of years. Tools and a fire pit from a Stone Age hunters’ camp have been found near Morton Lochs. In the second world war, Tentsmuir was part of a long line of defences along Scotland’s east coast. Polish troops who were based here built hundreds of concrete blocks as an anti-tank barrier. Once at the sea’s edge, now many of them are buried in the dunes. Every time the sand shifts, there’s a chance that new evidence of Tentsmuir’s past might be uncovered.

Walking trails

Tentsmuir route card (PDF)

Walking

Ice House Trail

Wind through sand dunes and pine forest to discover the 19th century ice house and some World War II pillboxes.

Largely firm, uneven sandy surface. Several short steep ramps. Includes a short rougher section, exposed tree roots and parts that may be wet.

Moderate trail grade icon
3 ¾ miles / 6.2 km

Allow
2 hours

Activities

Explore the winding dunes

Tentsmuir is an ideal place for easy cycling, with a good network of firm, level trails. You can hire bikes in Tayport and Leuchars. It’s great for horse riding too, with pine-scented forest, windswept sands and a wonderful range of wildlife. The coast here is one of Scotland’s most dynamic landscapes: parts of the shoreline are growing out into the sea at a rate of five metres a year. 

Close to the car park you’ll find picnic tables and a children’s play area, and a short walk will take you to the beach with its sea views and sand dunes.

Facilities and access

Walking
Walking
Toilets
Toilets
Cycling
Cycling
Parking (charge)
Parking (charge)
Easy-access facilities
Easy-access facilities
Play area
Play area
Picnic area
Picnic area

Opening times

Summer opening: April to end of October 8am till 9pm. Last entry 8.30pm 

Winter opening: November to end of March 8am till dusk.

Car parking information

The charge to park at Tentsmuir is £2 for the day.

Payment options: Coin only

  • Tentsmuir operates a pay barrier system that is coin-operated only. Please come prepared with cash as there are no local facilities for paying by card.

Please park with care and consideration. In particular please park in designated parking areas only and do not block entrances or gates. Nearby car parks with free parking can be found in our local forest list without the £ symbol. 

Annual parking passes available

Blue Badge Holders

The two passes above are available to Blue Badge holders for £20 (which covers the electronic parking pass for the Tentsmuir barrier).

More parking info

Watch out for ticks

Ticks can be found in woodland, moorland, grassland and parks, and are most active between March and October. Find out how to check for ticks after a visit to the countryside here.

Bring a barbecue

One stray spark from a fire could destroy the whole forest. To keep the trees – and visitors – safe, no fires are allowed in the forest or on the beach, but you’re welcome to bring a barbecue. Barbecues must be used in the picnic area on one of the special barbecue plates. Please remember to take used barbecues home with you.

No alcohol

To help keep Tentsmuir welcoming and safe for everyone, a byelaw prohibits alcohol on the site.

Accessibility

The logo for Euan's Guide, indicating that we're listed there, with disabled access reviews

Felling Operations Winter 2022/23

Tree felling operations to clear up windblown trees along the northern edge of the forest are now underway. There are multiple harvesting machines operating along the coastal strip with associated timber extraction and haulage operations taking place in the woodlands to the south. Civil engineering works are also taking place to repair some of the forest roads leading to this area.  

Due to the large size of the worksite we have set up an exclusion zone around the whole north east corner of the forest to keep the public safe. This includes all paths that run along the coastal strip (Tayport Heath) towards the National Nature Reserve at Tentsmuir Point. This is to maintain safety zones from machinery which will be working in the adjacent forest.

The Sustrans NCN Route 1 and Fife Coastal Path have been diverted around the operational area. We have also closed some smaller tracks and paths around the exclusion zone where these lead directly into areas where machinery are operating. Please see the closures map link below for more detail.

Visitors arriving via the Lundin Bridge access point in Tayport can still access the wider forest, including popular tracks and trails directly south of the Forestry and Land Scotland picnic area. All visitors transiting through the forest from the south to north should avoid routes using the dunes north of the Ice House, and instead follow the diversions for the Fife Coast Path and Sustrans NCN Route 1 up the west side of the forest.

Closures and diversions will remain in place for 3- 4 months.

Map of closures (PDF)

Tree felling operations Morton Lochs area

Due to ongoing roadside tree felling operations at Morton Lochs there is no access from the Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve at Morton Lochs into Tentsmuir Forest.

Getting here

Tentsmuir Forest is 1½ miles (2.4 km) east of the B945 between Leuchars and Tayport in northeast Fife. Follow signs for Kinshaldy Beach.

Using SatNav?

KY16 0DR is the closest postcode for Tentsmuir.

Public transport

The nearest bus stops are in Tayport and Leuchars. Buses will stop by request at the Morton Loch road end, from where you can walk to Morton Lochs and then into the forest. Check Traveline Scotland for details.

There are small car parks at Morton Lochs and Tayport, from where you can walk or cycle into the forest.

Get directions

Get in touch

Have a question or suggestion for improvement?

Phone
0300 067 6380 (option 1)
More contact information

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