History & wildlife at Ballathie Bluebell Wood
"A blue haze that seems to go on forever."
That’s how one visitor described Ballathie Bluebell Wood, near Kinclaven in Perthshire - famed as one of Scotland’s finest bluebell woods.
From Braveheart to brown hares
The surrounding area is steeped in history. Nearby Kinclaven Castle was burnt down by William Wallace during a siege in 1297. Its remains are still visible in the undergrowth. The castle treasure was taken to nearby woodland – possibly North Wood – where Wallace and his men hid.
Gnarled and veteran beech trees line the Old Kirk Road to Kinclaven Church which runs through the wood. This ancient right of way was once known as the ‘Court Road’. The story goes that criminals were marched along to be hung from the trees. Nowadays of course it’s much more peaceful.
Ballathie Bluebell Wood includes the 125 acre North Wood and 79 acres of grassland fields known as Court Hill, there is a long history of woodland on the site and 80% is on the ancient woodland inventory’s map of all ancient woods in the UK. As well as the annual carpet of bluebells, visitors can see delicate displays of wood anemone, primrose, pink purslane, wood sorrel and dog violet.
Red-listed bird species abound – including the linnet, yellow hammer, mistle and song thrush, redwing, fieldfare, cuckoo, spotted flycatcher, lesser redpoll and woodcock.
Ballathie is also home to red squirrel, pine marten, stoat, brown hare, hedgehog, bats and the common toad.