Forest Bathing Inspiration Throughout Scotland
The Japanese mindfulness practice of Shinrin-yoku or “Forest Bathing” involves simply sitting peacefully in a forest, using your senses to completely immerse yourself into the natural forest setting. Sit quietly amongst the trees, breathe deeply, and take the time to observe the calming surroundings of the forest.
There are so many health benefits that come from mindfully spending time in nature. Studies have proven that forest bathing lowers the stress chemical cortisol and therefore can help alleviate depression, stress and anxiety, as well as lowers your heart rate and blood pressure. Benefitting the mind, body and soul, exposure to nature is a wonderful way to boost your sense of wellbeing, plus it’s free!
To give you some inspiration for forest bathing locations, Chic Scotland has hand-picked a small selection of beautiful forests throughout Scotland but the art of forest bathing can be practiced literally anywhere there’s a forest – it’s really that simple.
Glenmore Forest in the Cairngorms National Park…
Situated at the foot of the Cairngorm Mountains, this fabulous forest park is renowned for its Caledonian pinewoods. Sit within these Scottish pines, inhale their delightful pine scent as you breathe deeply and forget about the stresses of the outside world. The highpoint of the park is the beautiful pine-fringed Loch Morlich with its long sandy beach in the heart of the forest. This is such a heavenly place.
Near Glenmore Forest Park is Railway Cottage, a lovely little 2-bedroom cottage with vintage boutique styling, beautiful unspoilt views, and an original real fireplace. It’s a little taste of heaven!
Situated south of Aviemore, in the Scottish Highlands, Uath Lochans (known locally as Badenochs), is a truly stunning place. Getting there involves a little adventure up a narrow and winding road – but trust me its beauty is worth it! Enjoy its peaceful atmosphere with trails around the lochans or take the longer route up to a striking view over Strathspey.
Just a short drive from Uath Lochans is Killiehuntly Farmhouse and Cottage – a scandi scot beauty in the highlands.
Abernethy Forest, near Nethy Bridge in the Cairngorms, is one of the largest remnants of Caledonian pine forest in Scotland. The forest provides a wonderful refuge for a variety of birds and other wildlife. As you meander through the tall pinewoods, you may spot a red squirrel scurry up a scot pine or catch sight of a yellow siskin.
If you’re looking for accommodation in the area, Dell of Abernethy is a collection of beautiful self-catering cottages – the type of place where you can forget about lives stresses as you melt away into the woodlands.
Argyll Forest Park…
Established in 1935, Argyll Forest Park is Britain’s oldest Forest Park. It’s land features rugged mountains, gorgeous glens, soothing sea lochs and rushing rivers. This place feels very wild and remote but actually, you are just a short distance from Glasgow. It’s a fantastic wee haven to get away from the stresses of everyday life.
Feel the crunch of the earth beneath your feet as you stroll along Ardentinny’s tranquil trails along the river which flows through beautiful bluebell woods. Immerse yourself into Puck’s Glen with its magical trail that winds along a Victorian walkway and enchanting waterfalls, or take the longer route to scenic viewpoints.
Loch Fyne Hotel, situated in the stunning west coast village of Inveraray, would be the perfect base if you’re looking to explore these beautiful forests. It’s a dog friendly hotel too!
Tay Forest Park…
Tay Forest Park boasts some of the most scenic areas of Highland Perthshire. There are numerous trails, each with beautiful scenery, peace and tranquillity.
Faskally has plenty of secluded spots for forest bathing – sit beneath the oak trees for some peace and quiet, or follow Dunmore Trail that’ll take you around the small loch where you can soak up its still and serene atmosphere.
Craigvinean Forest makes up part of the Tay Forest Park and is located 1 mile north of Dunkeld in Perthshire. The bottom of the forest slopes features a wonderful combination of Scots pine and beech trees, while the upper slopes boast larch trees. If you feel up to it, walk up the gentle zig zag slopes to get to Pine Cone Point, a viewpoint marked by a unique timber-built pine cone structure, offering picture-perfect views across Dunkeld and the Tay.
A Chic accommodation recommendation in the area is The Hayloft – a luxury, boutique BnB with simple yet beautiful styling. The location is a dream, perfectly placed upon a hill and looking out onto the beautiful valley.
Glencoe Lochan trails…
Just a short walk from Glencoe village sits a lovely lochan, surrounded by tall woods with pointed mountains of the glen creating a dramatic backdrop. There are plenty of serene sitting spots where you can rest and appreciate the stunning loch and mountain views. There’s a lovely story behind this area too - in the 1890s, Lord Strathcona created the lochan and woodland for his homesick Canadian wife to bring her a sense of Canada to Scotland, what a gent!
Glencoe House is just a stone throw away from here. This is the PERFECT place for a romantic getaway - your room is basically an apartment with double baths, an outdoor hot tub, lounge area, and dining room. They can even serve you dinner in your room, this place is the dream.
Beecraigs Country Park…
Outlander fans! You may recognise this ancient beauty from season 4 Outlander. Situated in West Lothian, Beecraigs is loaded with ancient beech trees and lots of history, that’s what makes it such a special place. Enjoy slow strolls through the forest and around the loch, using all of your senses to take in the beautiful surroundings.
A trip to Beecraigs Country Park would make an idyllic escape from the bustling city if you’re staying in Edinburgh. Absorb the beauty of the forest then retreat to the comfort and luxury of The House of Gods, an intimate boutique hotel in the heart of Edinburgh's Cowgate.
Tweed Valley Forest Park…
Located just an hour away from Edinburgh is the Tweed Valley Forest Park, where seven forests are scattered around the valley of the River Tweed. Of course, with their natural beauty any of these forests make perfect forest bathing spots.
You may choose Cardrona Forest, one of the Tweed Valley Forest Park’s larger forests. Its trails are peaceful and beautiful, with many of them leading to stunning hilltop views. The trails offer lots of serene spots to relax, reflect and take in the calming atmosphere.
Cademuir Forest is a hidden gem. This peaceful larch and pine forest is a wonderful place to forest bathe. The soothing sound of birds fills the air and you may spot a red deer, or catch a glimpse of owls fleeting through the trees in the evening.
Just a short distance away from here is Howford House, a Georgian beauty that’s perfect for a family holiday as it sleeps 18 in 9 bedrooms. The house has been tastefully styled with four-poster beds, stunning fireplaces, original antiques and beautiful Georgian detailing - it just oozes character and history.
Galloway Forest Park…
Home to dramatic ancient woodland, magnificent scenery and a wonderful range of local wildlife, Galloway Forest Park is a beautiful place to simply relax and soak up the picturesque loch and mountain views. This forest is also a recognised Dark Sky Park - an ideal stargazing location if you opt for some late-night forest bathing.
If you follow the noise of rushing waters, hidden under a road off the beaten track is Dalcairney Falls – this is the perfect spot for a bit of meditating or daydreaming.
For somewhere to stay in the area, Galloway House Estate has four charming self-catering holiday cottages located in 600 acres of stunning countryside and coastline – the sea views are incredible. Come here to forget about life’s stresses and connect with nature in the most stylish and comfortable way.