Within the woods surrounding Cawdor Castle are five nature trails that vary in length from 0.75 miles to 5 miles. Four of the five trails start from the Flower Garden, the exception being the violet trail which starts from the Blue Bridge. The layout of the trails gives you the choice to continue on a longer trail if you wish.
The nature trails are within the Big Wood. The Big Wood still contains the remnants of the classic dry Oakwood including Birch, Aspen, Rowan, Wych Elm, Holly and Juniper. Scots Pine, Oak and Beech are also well represented within the wood. The Beech, while not native to the area, supports some of the rare lichens.
The Big Wood is home to over 131 species of lichen, including a number of very rare varieties. This is because the air is clean and rainfall quite low. Great Woodrush blankets large areas of the wood where the canopy thins. Rhododendron is being continuously controlled throughout the Big Wood as this invasive species prevents the natural regeneration of trees. In spring, parts of the wood are lovely with Stitchwort, Bluebell, ferns, mosses and Honeysuckle, mixing with young saplings.
A variety of birds can be seen from time to time in the Big Wood. Dippers, Capercaillies, Herons, Wrens and numerous species of birds of prey mixed with migrants from Crossbills to Waxwings. If you’re lucky, you may spot some animals, including Red Deer that occasionally come into the estate via the Findhorn Valley.
If you lose your way in the wood, walk and hiking until you come to a burn or stream and follow it downstream - all burns lead to the Castle.