David Marshall Lodge and its surroundings have undergone a major refurbishment prior to being relaunched as The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre. For the moment the rest of this page remains as written prior to the refurbishment, but will be updated when we have revisited.
North of Aberfoyle the road built in 1886 to cater for Victorian tourists to the Trossachs climbs steeply up the hillside. Close to the top of the climb and a mile from Aberfoyle a turning on the right leads to the extensive car parks of the David Marshall Lodge Visitor Centre.
The David Marshall Lodge is a visitor centre operated by the Forestry Commission and stands in the Achray Forest, itself part of the huge Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. The lodge was gifted to the Forestry Commission by the Carnegie Trust in 1960 and has since been extended to provide a range of facilities for visitors. Though technically within the forest, the location of the lodge gives it magnificent views, especially to the south.
The lodge comprises a number of distinct elements. The Bluebell Cafe provided visitors with a wide range of good value eating and drinking options and caters for people who are health conscious and enjoy a variety of tastes.
Also within the lodge is a shop, an information centre, and a wildlife room for remotely watching the ospreys who live in the Achray Forest and other birds. In the grounds of the lodge is a play area and a number of attractive wooden statues. For the much more active there is a "Go Ape" adventure course which includes the UK's longest zip wire.
Somewhere in the middle on the scale of exertion are the extensive network of waymarked walking trails starting and finishing at the lodge. These range in length from half a mile to four miles. The lodge is also linked to National Cycle Route 7.
For those who want to explore the Achray Forest by car, the Forestry Commission has established the 3 Lochs Forest Drive. Open from April to September, it provides seven and a a half miles of winding forest road and is accessed from the main road about a mile and a half north of David Marshall Lodge.