A guide to the Malling Forest detour, with map and photos

Having walked this section on 20 June, I’m reporting what I found and offering some guidance. If anybody walks this section between now and September please email any comments and photos because things may change further.

I started from the Aberfoyle end and walked north-east towards Callander. Had I started from the other end, it would have been more difficult to get it right first time: please read on to understand why. The diversion will be in place at least until September when the National Park hopes to clear the windblown trees. See our earlier post for a smaller scale map (but NB the detour line on the present map is more accurate: I used OS Locate).

Once you enter the Malling Estate, there’s soon a small but awkward obstacle of branches and piles of gravel. Look carefully at the centre of this photo to see the blue-on-white RRW sign. You then follow the newly constructed footpath just visible behind the sign:

Obstacle in front of sign

Once you reach a grid reference of  5571 0228 (i.e. the south-west start of the pink line on the map clip) a clear sign turns you right off the path, to walk among the trees. This avoids the section blocked by wind-blown trees. For about 150 metres you walk parallel to the main Way, almost always within sight of the windblown trees, and there’s a dozen white signs stapled to trees to guide you.

From a distance, the white signs are much more obvious than the red paint which you will also see on the tree trunks:

Sample sign

Stick closely to the signed route to avoid sinking into any deep boggy patches, some of which are very close to the route. My labrador struggled to climb out of this one, strong and sure-footed as he is:

Boggy bit, Malling Forest

After 150 metres of following the signs, you emerge to rejoin the main Way at grid reference 5578 0240. If you look back at this point, you will see why the diversion would be harder to pick up in the opposite direction: what is ahead looks like an impenetrable blockage.

north-east end of the diversion

Here you must look far to the left where you can just discern some red paint on a tree that (if you look at its far side) turns out to have a white sign on it. Clearly the person who marked the diversion wasn’t expecting people to walk south-west! From here, simply follow the white signs in reverse if wanting the diversion and heading to Aberfoyle.

Also, further south-west, beware of an apparent path junction well beyond the end of the windblow diversion. Here you ignore the yellow arrow pointing left and go straight past the large Euroforest Stop sign to follow the constructed path. If you see any forestry operatives, be ready to obey any signals from the contractor who will be wearing high-vis vests. I did speak to them to request better access at the start of the path.

apparent junction if walking south-west

Finally, here I’m looking back over some windblown trees at the north-east end of the forest, just before a glorious open section that leads to the lovely lochan shown on page 39 of the guidebook. My labrador Toby is there to provide an idea of scale for those upturned tree roots.

windblown trees near exit from forest