Guest blog: Scottish Forestry adviser Kevin Lafferty on planning a forest walk

If you're never tried a woodland walk, spring is the perfect time.

The forests in Scotland are many and varied.

From local woods for walking the dog or getting some exercise, to majestic mountain viewpoints and some of the world’s most iconic scenery, it’s all waiting for you to explore. Woodlands are a pleasure to visit all year round, but spring is my favourite time of the year for woodland walks.

Flowers bloom, bringing bursts of colour, and wildlife reawakens, turning the woodland into a hive of activity. We can enjoy the first signs we are leaving winter behind and getting ready for spring, daffodils are popping up and bird song is filling the air.

Walking is one of the easiest of all exercise activities, with no real requirements for special equipment. Once you hit the forest, it’s good to have a plan for your walk – so here are a few pointers.

Be sure to pick the right trail for your level of ability. The right clothing and footwear is important as some trails can be wet and muddy underfoot - be sure to pick shoes or boots sturdy and comfortable enough for your walk, and the right clothes to keep you warm and dry, whatever the weather.

There are loads of things you can do to on your woodland walk, I try to make it fun and enjoyable for all the family. Why not scan the forest floor for seeds and pinecones and see what ones you can identify. Look out for blossoming bluebells and wild garlic, listen for the sweet sound of birdsong and why not have a go at hugging a tree during your walk? I take a pair of binoculars with me so I can try and spot any birds or nests high up in the trees.

Visit the woods before sunrise to experience the wonder of the dawn chorus. Listen out for the magical melodies sung by birds as they try to attract a mate. There is nothing better than wandering around the woods in the early hours with the enchanting sound of birdsong in your ears you might even spot a deer or a hare!

Woodlands help slow us down, coming back to a slower pace of life and into rhythm with nature. The natural light influences our circadian rhythms, promoting more restful sleep at night and the exercise will helps us feel more relaxed. So why not try a woodland walk this spring?