I’ve lived in Dundee most of my life, I can see the forest from my house and yet I’ve never visited Tentsmuir Forest before today. I picked a good day to go. Sub-zero temperatures, black ice and plenty of cold wind made it an adventurous walk. I came home unscathed feeling better having enjoyed some of the freshest air and scenery I’ve experienced for a while.
Relatively popular with dog walkers and those seeking a bit of exercise it is quite easy to escape to quieter places by following some of the trails off the beach into the miles of forest that immediately protect the coast line from sea erosion.
Tentsmuir Forest in Fife, Scotland, stands next to Kinshaldy Beach with a view across the Firth of Tay. Covering some 50 square miles (130 km2), the area was originally moorland before acquisition by the Forestry Commission in the 1920s.
The forest consists mainly of Scots Pine and Corsican Pine, a large part of which is a Nature Reserve (Tentsmuir Point National Nature reserve). Since the forest is adjacent to Kinshaldy Beach, there is a large variety of wildlife. Here can be seen deer, bats, Red Squirrel and in particular Grey Seal. Unusually, however, there are also cattle present as part of conservation management.
Tentsmuir Forest is notable for the many concrete blocks distributed along the shoreline, which acted as coastal defence against landing craft during World War II. The nearby RAF Leuchars base means that military aircraft are often seen (and heard), but aviation links go back to 1911 with the setting up of a Royal Engineers training camp. During World War II troops of the Polish Army were based here to man the coastal defences.