Tried and Tested

Tried and Tested: Brucefield Estate Schenbothies

1 March 2024

First let me say this: if I lived in Glasgow or Edinburgh, I would spend every free weekend I could at Brucefield Estate. A mere, unbelievable hour away from both cities, it feels like you’ve entered a fresh and fascinating new world… one that’s far, far away from the madness of urban life.

My fiancé David and I decided to spend our last precious moments of downtime here, before our wedding plans start gathering pace (we’re getting married in September). As it turned out, we couldn’t have chosen anywhere better.

We opted to stay in a Schenbothy; one of three Scandi-style, forest-set Tiny Houses-for-two, with huge picture-window views of red squirrels, grazing sheep and deer, and cheeky hares scurrying through the grass. No wonder that each bothy is named in honour of the estate’s animals as they’re known in Scots terms: Tod for fox, Brock for badger, and Mertrick for pine marten.

(Slackbrae, the estate’s award-winning, Tardis-like holiday cottage, is perfect for small families or two couples).

We were escorted from the dedicated car park and shown to our Mertrick bothy by Graham, Brucefield’s Land Officer – who we noticed was glowing with pride as he introduced us to our timber-crafted holiday home. That wasn’t surprising, since it’s the kind of place that radiates love and care from the moment you step inside.

Comprising 1000 rural acres, Brucefield Estate is brimming with unique history and heritage. This is reflected in the retreats: while luxurious and modern, they include gentle nods to days gone by. For instance, our gorgeous green-tiled bathroom also featured tiles crafted from black-and-white photos that depicted parts of the estate’s past.

Oh, and did I mention that the sleek Danish log-burner had been set up, and our pre-ordered supermarket shopping carefully packed away for our arrival? There was even a generous supply of local goodies waiting for us, including hand-made toiletries and a freshly-baked loaf of the best sourdough bread I’ve ever eaten.

The mezzanine sleeping space was unbelievably snuggly, and it was pure bliss to greet each day with a fresh cup of coffee, watching and listening to the forest slowly coming to life. Long walks were then taken around the vast woodland (a map was provided for that very purpose) which took in ancient monuments, magical fables, whispering 300-year-old trees, and abundant protected wildlife of every description.

There are plenty of activities and day-trips waiting to be enjoyed at or from Brucefield, too – including canyoning and mountain-biking for serious thrill-seekers. Those adventures weren’t quite for us, so Victoria, the estate’s lively and lovely owner, took us out on a fascinating History and Wildlife tour instead. By coincidence, this followed the same walking-route we’d taken the day before, only now it was full of stories and wonder. If you go, you HAVE to take this tour!

I also arranged a unique woodland trail and picnic for Valentine’s Day. The trail was adorned with red ribbons and birch discs – which can form a romantic message of your choice – ending with a glowing firepit, blankets, and a delectable hamper from Polly’s Pantry, a local caterer who works with the estate to create bespoke dishes and platters for guests. I don’t think I’ve ever spent a more romantic Valentine’s Day than this: savouring a delicious home-made supper (and Prosecco, of course!) in the serene wooded dusk.

Venturing away from the estate, we visited the outrageously pretty town of Dollar, enjoying coffee and home-made pastries at The Wee Bookshop, and historic Culross, with its sublime ochre palace and cobbled streets. Both places could be reached in a simple 20-minute drive.

Truth is, there’s so much to see and do here that you might feel a bit giddy at first –don’t be surprised if you start planning a return trip even before you’ve left! We kept musing about coming back for the changing of the seasons, when the scenery and the flowers would be brand-new each time (I took lots of pictures of snowdrops during this particular trip).

But even if all you wanted to do was breathe out and relax somewhere naturally beautiful and exquisitely cared-for, you’d be in exactly the right place.

Author: Nina Jervis

If you’d like to experience these sumptuous woodland hideaways at Brucefield Estate Schenbothies, you can find out more via their Host Unusual listing below!

Brucefield Estate Schenbothies

Forestmill, Clackmannanshire, Scotland
Sumptuous woodland hideaways, privately nestled on a magical Clackmannanshire estate that's teeming with rich heritage and diverse, protected wildlife.
Bedrooms: 1 per bothy
Sleeps: 2 per bothy
£145 / night


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