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Glasgow - There's something special about waking up deep in a forest: sleeping in the woods engenders a cosiness that can't quite be replicated anywhere else, and the fabulous Cairngorm Lodges offer the chance to get away from it all in some of the finest natural scenery the UK has to offer.

Situated on the 750-acre Blelack Estate in Aberdeenshire, it's a real get-away-from-it-all break, with no wi-fi, no reception building or additional facilities: just the lodges and, er, the trees.

Everything is done with the environment in mind – the lodges are built from sustainable wood and the forest sustainably managed. The owners recycle everything and, perhaps most importantly, they are passionate about preserving and encouraging the local flora and fauna, running bee-keeping courses and offering lots of advice on where to spot local wildlife.

Red squirrels are daily visitors to the lodges and there are red deer in the woods and beyond. Among an abundance of birdlife you will be able to spot kestrels, sparrowhawks and pine martens.

All the lodges are very well equipped, heated by a wood-burning stove and lit with low-energy lighting, and logs are laid on in generous supply. They’re dog-friendly too, and the forest has a multitude of marked paths it would take weeks to fully explore.



It's also a fabulous area for horse riding and in particular mountain biking, with some great routes through the forest. All in all, the perfect place for both an active holiday and for a peaceful contemplative one – or, maybe, a mixture of the two.

* Cool Places is a website from the creators of Rough Guides and Cool Camping, suggesting the best places to stay, eat, drink and shop in Britain (