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4 island winter woodland walks for the whole family

Autumn woodland

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1. Bridgend Woods | Isle of Islay

Situated in the centre of this beautiful 'horse-shoe' shaped island, Bridgend woods is the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon with the kids. It can get a bit muddy so bring your wellies, and if the kids have their bikes bring them too - the roads are forest track so great for cycling.

There are lots of inroads, so no real defined route although there is good parking in Islay House Square or beside Bridgend Hotel (tea and cakes anyone?), so either of these places are a great place to start your winter woodland adventure.

Don't forget to...

  1. Find the old rope swings which have been enjoyed by local children for years.
  2. Play pooh sticks over one of the many wooden bridges you'll come across in this beautiful woodland.


2. Brodick Castle & Gardens | Isle of Arran

Set within the stunning Brodick Castle estate you'll find the lush Brodick gardens. Visit the castle this month to enjoy the crunch of dry autumnal leaves beneath your wellies.

The castle itself has a wee café where you can pick up a warm bowl of soup and a cup of tea - perfect for warming you up after a frosty walk in the woods.

Don't forget to...

  1. Find the Iron Age hut hidden in the woodlands.
  2. Count the many woollen woodland creatures that have made these magical woods their home.
  3. Play in the adventure playground!

Brodick castle gardens

3. Cill an Ailein | Isle of Mull

This short, circular woodland walk is perfect for a quick stroll with the dog on a frosty winter's day. The terrain is easy being forest track and trail, so bring the kids and their bikes too!

Start your walk at the Aros Forestry Commission offices just north of Salen Bay. Drive past the offices and park up beside the picnic area.

Don't forget to...

  1. Visit the ancient graveyard, Cill na Ailein, where you'll find graves dating back to the Middle Ages.
  2. Enjoy the vistas over to Crannich, Ben Talaidh and Ben More.


4. Balnakailly Woodland | Isle of Bute

The Balnakailly Loop is a short woodland walk around the north of the beautiful island of Bute. Walk the loop anti-clockwise from the Rhubodach - Colintraive ferry crossing by heading north through the gate, across the field and take the stile into the woodland.

This 4 mile round walk is the perfect way to spend a chilly winter's afternoon - take in the nature and wildlife, as well as spectacular views of the Kyles of Bute.

Don't forget to...

  1. Take a diversion just after the turning circle, to the right of the sign posts through some uneasy ground to the WW2 bunker where you will see the mesmerising views of the Kyles of Bute.
  2. Pack a picnic and flask and enjoy the view!


Where's your favourite spot for a woodland walk?

Are you an islander, or a recent visitor to Scotland's west coast and islands? We'd love to know your favourite spots for a walk on those chilly winter days we all love. Write your answers in the comments section below.


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