01 September 2022
Make the most of the autumn colours with our guide to the best places to enjoy Scotland's spectacular scenery.
1. The Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park
With waterfalls, countryside trails, more than twenty lochs and some of Europe’s darkest skies, this National Park has a lot to offer anyone visiting in the autumn. The village of Aberfoyle has an annual Mushroom Festival and you can see some stunning autumn colour at Loch Chon, known for its still waters which offer stunning reflections and opportunities for seasonal photos.
Tel: 01389 722600; website.
2. Perthshire Big Tree Country
‘Big Tree Country’ comprises over 200,000 acres of woodland in Perthshire, which is home to several ‘champion’ trees, including the highest hedge in the world (the Meikleour Beech), Britain’s oldest tree (the Fortingall Yew - pictured left) and a tree mentioned by Shakespeare in Macbeth (the Birnam Oak).
The Perthshire Big Tree Country website divides the region into eight different districts, each of which has its own distinct woodland, and there also ideas for walks and trails to follow. The Hermitage is one of the region’s most popular woods, with Douglas Firs, a folly and the Black Linn waterfall; a landscape visited by Queen Victoria.
3. Faskally Wood
A large wood close to Pitlochry which offers several walks, as part of the Pitlochry Path Network. The Dunmore Trail offers pretty lochside views, and in the evening, Faskally Wood is transformed into The Enchanted Forest, a sound and light visitor attraction which welcomes visitors from September to the end of October.
4. Loch Trool
This upland loch lies within the Galloway Forest Park and is renowned as one of the prettiest lochs in Southern Scotland. The Glentrool Visitor Centre offers a great introduction to the area and its many walks, including a trail which takes in Bruce’s Stone, which commemorates the Battle of Glen Trool of 1307.
5. Mar Lodge, Aberdeenshire
This Braemar countryside is cared for by National Trust for Scotland and has hosted the BBC’s Winterwatch TV show. The estate comprises seven percent of the Cairngorms National Park, including moorland, scrubland and pine forest.
This is a great place for wildlife spotting, with autumn bringing migrant birds such as pink-footed and greylag geese, red deer beginning their rut and yarrow, thistle and cloudberry brightening up the woodland floor.
A spectacular area of the Highlands which holds its annual autumn festival in the last week of October. The famous Glencoe Pass has featured on many paintings and postcards, and offers a gateway into a spectacular region noted for its peaks and valleys, where autumn colours are displayed to dramatic effect.
South-east of Oban is Barnaline, a woodland which contains some of Scotland’s finest oak trees. Take a walk along the waymarked trails and you might be lucky enough to spot a red squirrel or pine marten. The Avich Waterfalls walk is particularly impressive in autumn, when recent rainfall can create a spectacular sight.
8. Lennox Forest
Close to Glasgow but with a real country feel, Lennox Forest offers beautiful views across to Glasgow or over the nearby Campsie Fells. Watch the changing colours of the leaves as you take one of the forest trails, and look out for roe deer amid the trees.
Images: Fortingall Yew © Paul Hermans; Loch Lomond Abubakr Hussain; Faskally Woods © Bill Copland; Loch Trool © Iain Thompson; Mar Lodge © Joe Dorward; Glencoe © Norrie Adamson; Barnaline © Richard Webb; Lennox Forest © Ron Shephard.
Originally published August 2020. Reviewed September 2022.