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Country Parks and Gardens around Stirling

Doune Ponds

Access from Moray Street, Doune

Reclaimed from a disused sand and gravel quarry which had been used as a rubbish dump. Birds, swans, ducks, red squirrels, foxes, moles, voles and red deer have moved in and found a home here. Now an award winning, 40 acre nature reserve with walks and bird watching hide.
For the initial landscape design, a pond with a small island was planned but the water kept draining away so, the plan was abandoned. Much of the pond's area has been developed by the forces of nature without landscaping or design. There is a pond which provides a dual habitat by appearing in Winter and then becoming a marsh environment in Summer and a magical, mini-pond which appeared of it's own accord.
A great place to spend time exploring at any time of year.

Parking 09.00 to 17.00

Disabled access to trails and hide.

Gartmorn Dam Country Park and Nature Reserve

2 miles NE of Alloa on A908, by Sauchie

Telephone 01259 214319

Constructed in the 18th Century, this is Scotland's oldest man made reservoir. The marshland was dammed in 1713 to prevent flooding in the Sauchie mines. The dam has provided a good Winter roost for migrating ducks. Countryside Rangers lead walks through the attractive woodland and there is trout fishing from boat and bank between April and September. Ideal for walking, cycling, bird-watching and picnics. Orienteering course available. The visitor centre has exhibits, slide shows, touch tables and games.

Park open all year
Visitor Centre open April to September: 08.30 to 20.30 ( 19.30 on darker evenings )
October to March ( Saturday and Sunday only ) 13.00 to 16.00
Admission Free
Parking available
Picnic area
Disabled access and facilities

Plean Country Park

map of plean country park

Cadgers Loan, Plean
On A9 South of Bannockburn
Telephone 01786 442464


In January 1963, the last pit in Plean closed. In the mid 1980's, after years of neglect, British Coal handed over the now derelict Plean House and 190 acres of land to Stirling Council. The paths and the main drives were completely overgrown when work on the park started in 1987. The area has now been transformed into 200 acres of woodland and parkland with way marked walks, an orienteering course and a biodiversity trail. Eighty different species of birds can be spotted and roe deer, rabbits and foxes roam freely.

There is a Walled Garden which was previously used by residents of Plean House to grow their own fruit and vegetables but is not open at present to the public. There are a variety of woodland walks and a horse trail at 4km in length being the longest trail around the park. The core paths laid mostly with tarmac are suitable for the disabled and lead to the picnic area where new picnic tables are suitable for wheelchair use. Older children can have a great time running around, playing hide and seek and building dens while children of all ages can enjoy the newly opened rustic playground.

Snowdrops and daffodils cover the park in Spring, red and blue rhododendrons burst forth in Summer. The Wildflower Meadow has a large variety of wild flowers including the Greater Butterfly Orchid which flowers in early July.

The fenced-off ruins of Plean House stand in the middle of the park, as a reminder of the park's history. A commemorative sculpture stands near the walled garden as a tribute to local miners who worked the pit seams and in memory of those who tragically lost their lives, in the 1922 pit explosion.

The park has a natural wildness and on the paths and trails you can feel like you are the only one there. No adventure playgrounds or gift shops but there are toilets and a recently constructed children's playground make it suitable for a great day out for the family.

Various events are organised throughout the year including Family Fun Days, special Park Ranger nature days, demonstrations and other events run by the Friends Group

Keep an eye on the What's on around Stirling pages and if you would like to find out more about the park or the Friends Group visit or contact Stirling Council Ranger Service.

All year during daylight hours
Picnic area

Queen Elizabeth Forest Park

Queen Elizabeth Forest Park
A821 Duke's Pass
1 mile North of Aberfoyle
Telephone 01877 382258

On the edge of the Highlands, overlooking the Forth Valley. There are lovely walks along the three, well signposted forest trails which begin from the Visitor Centre. There are miles of waymarked forest trails in Loch Ard forest and Achray forest. If you are cycling then follow the cycle trails.

Centre Open Mid March to October 10.00 to 18.00 daily
November to December 11.00 to 16.00 daily
Weekends until Christmas
Cafe and picnic areas
Visitor Centre with exhibitions and an audio-visual show
Disabled access and facilities
Toilets and baby changing facilities
Local bus service

Airthrey Gardens at the University of Stirling

Many people regard Stirling University as the most beautiful campus in the country. Take a stroll around the lochs and see why. Since forming in 1970, the Airthrey Gardens Group have raised money to transform the grounds by planting thousands of colourful flowers, trees and shrubs and developing two scenic walks. The beauty of the campus owes a great deal to their efforts.

A peaceful place to walk at any time of the year and a great place for a picnic. Don't forget to pack extra to feed the ducks and swans. The campus is open to the public all year round and with the constantly changing colours of the Ochill Hills as a backdrop, the walks are covered with daffodils in Spring and rhododendrons in Summer.

From the back of the university, you can access the Hermitage Woods and try to find the Hermitage itself which is well hidden on the hillside. Be careful if you have young children as the paths are steep and can be slippery after rain.

Buses run frequently, all day, from the bus station in Goosecroft Road
Disabled Access and facilities

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