The Best Family Winter Walks In Scotland

Winter is arguably the best season to enjoy all that Scotland has to offer. Frosty mornings and snow-covered hills make for awe inspiring sights, and the change in season marks the perfect time for families to get outdoors and explore the changing landscape.

path through marsh

Getting outside in winter is incredibly important for children. Not only do they get to experience the outdoors from a new perspective, but walking is a great opportunity to show the importance of being active all year round. The time spent together provides valuable bonding time for families, and a chance to learn more about the natural world. Not to mention, the exercise helps to burn off some of that excess energy from Christmas treats!

There are plenty of wonderful walks and activities for the whole family to enjoy across Scotland this winter, so make sure to bundle up and get exploring. Check out some of the top winter walks for families below.

Castle Fraser Estate, Inverurie
The breathtaking castle and grounds at the Castle Fraser Estate look like they have been taken straight from the pages of a fairy tale. Although the castle itself is closed from late October, the grounds are open all year round, and a number of short, family-friendly trails make this the perfect place for a winter ramble. The peaceful grounds are a haven for wildlife, and with the National Trust’s Digital Ranger app, children will be able to learn all about the animals, flora and fauna to be found on the estate.

Holyrood Park, Edinburgh
Holyrood Park in Edinburgh is home to a range of walking trails suitable for every family. For older children or more seasoned walkers, try scaling Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh’s very own volcano, for a great bird’s eye view of the historic city. For those looking for something a little less strenuous, Salisbury crags offers a gentler walk for little legs. Whatever route you choose, be sure to visit the Royal Mile afterwards to soak up some festive spirit!

mother and daughter on trail

Falls of Clyde, Lanark
The Falls of Clyde reserve is famous for scenic walks, breathtaking waterfalls, and the wide range of nature to be found. Over 100 types of birds have been spotted here, making it a perfect day out for budding ornithologists. Challenge your family to see how many bird species they can spot, and log your sightings on the BirdSpotter website. Keep your eyes peeled for the rare lesser scaup duck, or even the distinctive hoopoe.

Scottish Deer Center, Bow of Fife
The Scottish Deer Center is set over 55 acres of the Fife countryside, making the perfect place for a family day out walking. The Deer Center is home to 14 species of deer, otters, wildcats, birds of prey and even a wolf pack. There are plenty of educational activities run year round by the park’s expert keepers to keep the little ones interested, with opportunities to learn about (and meet!) resident animals. What could be more magical than meeting a real life reindeer at Christmas!


Top Photo: Path through Marsh at Uath Lochans in Glen Feshie, Scotland. Photo by John Holmes.

Bottom Photo: Arthur’s Seat is the main peak of the group of mountains in Edinburgh, Scotland which form most of Holyrood Park. Photo by Mariusz Jurgielewicz.

Rusty Wet Leaves

boots of black, whetted by rain
forgotten memories left behind
woodpecker tapping upon birch
moss covered granite whispers
deer disappear into fern & pine
partridge drumming in harmony
woodland faeries smiling softly
path covered in rusty wet leaves
gentle breezes calm and serene
the distant call of Canadian geese
echo throughout the distant valley,
a peaceful surrender, enchantingly.

By Ken Allan Dronsfield

red & yellow leaves with mossy boulder


Ken Allan Dronsfield is a disabled veteran and poet. He is a three time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and twice nominated for the Best of the Net. His poems have been published world-wide throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. Ken’s work can be found in The Burningword Journal, Belle Reve Journal, Blue Heron, The Stray Branch, Naturewriting, Now/Then Manchester Magazine UK, Scarlet Leaf Review, EMBOSS Magazine, and many more. Ken loves life!

Photo by Jose Manuel Gelpi Diaz

Light Show

Sunlight played on the forest floor
dappled through the trees.

Bright emerald patterns
against lush darker hues,

strobing like nature’s neon light show.
A captivating event to behold.

Alternating waves of
light and shade
dancing on beams of joy.

An enchanting world
of imagination and delight.

Afternoon hours
wandering woodland paths.

By Ann Christine Tabaka

pathway through autumn forest


Tabaka Author PhotoAnn Christine Tabaka was born and lives in Delaware. She is a published poet, an artist, a chemist, and a personal trainer. She loves gardening, cooking, and the ocean. Chris lives with her husband and two cats. Her poems have been published in numerous national and international poetry journals, reviews, and anthologies. Chris has been selected as the resident Haiku poet for Stanzaic Stylings.

Photo of autumn forest pathway by Derek Audette

Disciple

—after Mary Oliver

Pencils hidden in trees in case something speaks to her,
in case she is urged to respond as she wanders forest, seashore—
this patch of Province Lands packed with emblems.

Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

A disciple of Thoreau ― world as cipher, subtext:
the disquieted deer, seven white butterflies,
watchful owl, battered whelk,
the world’s roots, what lies under?

Graced as it is with the ordinary.

It is sweet to wake each day, to taste sea spray,
smell the fecund earth, feel birch bark,

You are the heart of the cedars of Lebanon
and the fir called Douglas
the bristlecone, the willow.

fit onto a meditation seat of moss,
hear the cacophony of birdsong, ocean splash.

I dream at night of the birds, of the beautiful
dark seas they push through.

It is not a wide range of space that matters,
but what each part means to the whole, to the human soul.
Blackwater Pond is life ― dross, infinite, random.

Tell me what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Stilled in each moment noting connections in this palette of the varied.

Luminous as it is with mystery
and pain.

Not human society but permutations of God:
marsh lily, gull, the Truro bear.

There is only one question:
how to love this world?

Moments one knows what it is to be alive
fully and willing to live fully in the moment.

Morning by singular morning
and shell by broken shell.

By Marc Frazier
Italicized lines are from Mary Oliver.

sun shining through forest trees


Marc Frazier has widely published poetry in journals including The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, Good Men Project, f(r)iction, The Gay and Lesbian Review (forthcoming), Slant, Permafrost, Plainsongs, and Poet Lore. He has had memoir from his book WITHOUT published in Gravel, The Good Men Project, decomP, Autre Cobalt Magazine and Evening Street Review and Punctuate (forthcoming). He is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry and has been featured on Verse Daily. His book The Way Here and his two chapbooks are available on Amazon as well as his second full-length collection titled Each Thing Touches (Glass Lyre Press) that has garnered numerous favorable reviews. His website is www.marcfrazier.org.

Photo by the author.

The Forest Calls

Eerie, yet calm and peaceful
The forest at night calls to me
It draws me in

The quiet surrounds me
It is as if I can hear the trees breathe

I use touch to find my way
Feeling the bark becomes my braille
It shares its stories

How many have walked this way before
Will the trees give up their secrets

The silver moonlight trickles
Down between the leaves
Like rays of glory

Breaking through the darkness
I become one with the woods
I am home

By Ann Christine Tabaka

person walking through dark forest


Tabaka Author PhotoAnn Christine Tabaka was born and lives in Delaware. She is a published poet, an artist, a chemist, and a personal trainer. She loves gardening, cooking, and the ocean. Chris lives with her husband and two cats. Her poems have been published in numerous national and international poetry journals, reviews, and anthologies. Chris has been selected as the resident Haiku poet for Stanzaic Stylings.

Photo of forest at night by andreiuc88