The Scots pine forests of Speyside are world famous as some of the last remnants of the huge Caledonian forest that stretched across northern Europe.
Here, within the Cairngorms National Park, we may encounter some of the most elusive and intriguing forest animals in Britain, including Scottish crossbill, Capercaillie, Crested tit, Scottish wildcat, Pinemarten and Red squirrel.
Botanists can hope to find flowers such as chickweed wintergreen, cow-wheat, twinflower, Round and Serrated leafed wintergreens, Lesser twayblade and Creeping Ladies tresses, to name a few.
Winter in the forest is a magical time too: everything is covered with a dense blanket of snow; sounds are muffled and the animal dramas around you are revealed by intricate footprint trails and delicate flurries of snow. Since almost all the star species are resident, they can still be found, working hard to find their food in the short daylight hours.
There are plenty of good trails of varying lengths, to help you explore a variety of pine forests. In addition to excellent scenery, wildlife and walking, there’s also plenty of stories to hear about the people who have made these forests their home over the centuries.