Walk: Build your own

by Rona Simpson

If you want to plan your own woodland adventure and are not sure of where to go, why not access Scotland’s environment map?


It is an incredible tool that can reveal all sorts of information about your surrounding area including ancient woodlands and other designations.

In the map you can see Skelmorlie Glen filled out in green. This means the woodland is designated as ancient. But what makes a woodland ancient? In Scotland this means that the woodland has existed continuously since 1750 or before.
The older the habitat, the greater number of species it will support and therefore the greater its significance to nature
conservation. And it really gives another dimension to your walk to know that you are walking amongst trees or a
woodland area that has existed for hundreds of years. Some of these woodlands may preserve elements of the natural composition of the original Atlantic forests.

The map can reveal all sorts of other information about your local area. Which trees have been thinned or are ear-marked for clear fell? New plantations? Which plantations are made up of native trees, the pollution levels of your rivers and where your core paths are located. This information is handy for projects, but also for the fight to keep our green spaces!

Right to Roam

The right to roam was a hugely important part of the 2003 Land reform Act in Scotland and constitutes a highly democratic aspect of Scottish land use policy. It means that if we are responsible, we are allowed to roam (and camp) just about anywhere. (Although you are not allowed to roam across land which has a housing or a building on it, nor schools, or crop fi elds.) So if you see some woodland on the map that may not have a path to it, as long as you are responsible, you can go explore that too.

Ancient Woodland Indicator Species

There are quite a few ground flora plants that are said to indicate ancient woodlands, such as bluebells, wood anemone, dogs mercury, red campion, primrose and more.