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|Population||9,900 (mid-2020 est.)|
|OS grid reference|
|• Edinburgh||116 mi (187 km)|
|• London||444 mi (715 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Forres (//; Scottish Gaelic: Farrais) is a town and former royal burgh in the north of Scotland on the Moray coast, approximately 25 miles (40 km) northeast of Inverness and 12 miles (19 km) west of Elgin. Forres has been a winner of the Scotland in Bloom award on several occasions. There are many geographical and historical attractions nearby such as the River Findhorn, and there are also classical, historical artifacts and monuments within the town itself, such as Forres Tolbooth and Nelson's Tower. Brodie Castle, the home of the Brodie Clan, lies to the west of the town, close to the A96.
A list of suburbs in the town of Forres contains: Brodie; Dalvey; Mundole and Springdale.
Pre-history and archaeology
Between 2002 and 2013 some 70 hectares of land was investigated by archaeologists in advance of a proposed residential development on the southern fringes of the town. They found an extensive Iron Age settlement and evidence that people lived in the area from the Neolithic (radiocarbon dates from the 4th to the mid-3rd millennium BC were found) to the Early Historic period (they found radiocarbon dates from the 9th–12th centuries AD, around the time that historical records began). The Iron Age settlement had a souterrain and metalworking furnaces, and they found Neolithic and Bronze Age ceramics and cup-marked rock art. The excavation of a souterrain in Moray is quite rare; only one other souterrain had been excavated in Moray before this one.
History and overview
The earliest written reference to Forres may be the Οὐάραρ εἴσχυσις (Ouárar eíschysis, 'Varar Estuary') mentioned in the second century Geography of Claudius Ptolemy. A royal castle was present in the area from at least 900 AD, and around 1140 AD Forres became a royal burgh. Royal burghs were founded by the Kings of Scots of the 12th century to encourage trade and economic improvement. The local abbey was plundered by the Wolf of Badenoch.
On 23 June 1496 King James IV of Scotland issued a Royal Charter laying down the rights and privileges that the town's people are believed to have held by an earlier charter since the reign of King David I some 300 years earlier. The Forres Heritage Trust is a key organisation in the town and looks after both Nelson's Tower on Cluny Hill and The Tolbooth in the centre of the town. Both may be visited at times during the year. Forres Heritage Trust website provides much more information.
The population of Forres has grown in recent years is now over 12,000. Sitting between the floodplain of the River Findhorn and the wooded slopes of Cluny and Sanquhar Hills, Forres is well known for its award-winning floral sculptures and is steeped in local history and traditions. Local bars and pubs include The Newmarket, The Red Lion (known locally as "The Beastie") The Mosset Tavern, and The Carlton Hotel.
The town is the location of Sueno's Stone, an enormous carved stone probably created by Picts to commemorate a battle against Norse invaders. The stele is 20 feet (6.1 m) tall and encased in glass structure to protect it from the elements and graffiti. Sueno's Stone translates to Sven's Stone. Brodie Castle lies near the town.
Other attractions to Forres include Dallas Dhu distillery, which lies just south of the town; although no longer producing, the distillery is maintained in working order by Historic Environment Scotland. Benromach Distillery, located just north of the Forres bypass, is an active distillery with a visitors' centre.
There is a large network of walking and cycle paths with a well marked mountain bike trail in the woods behind the park in the town.
Findhorn Bay, home to seals and dolphins, is 4 miles (6.4 km) from the town and is accessible via a cycle path.
Artistic and alternative communities
There is a community of artists such as Orchard Road Studios, Findhorn Bay Arts and The House of Automata and various other galleries and arts organisations such as the soon to be National Unicorn Museum.
The European Pipe Band Championships have been held in Forres since 2016.
Forres was a parliamentary burgh, combined with Inverness, Fortrose and Nairn, in the Inverness Burghs constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1708 to 1801 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1918. The constituency was abolished in 1918 and the Forres and Nairn components were merged into the then new constituency of Moray and Nairn. Forres Town Hall, originally built as a masonic hall and later used as a mechanics institute before becoming a municipal building, was completed in 1829.
- Hugh Falconer (1808–1865), Scottish geologist, botanist, palaeontologist, and paleoanthropologist
- John Gordon FRSE (1786–1818) anatomist born in Forres
- Charles Lumley (1824–1858), recipient of the Victoria Cross
- James McIntyre (1828-1906). Born in Forres, moved to Canada 1841, and to Ingersoll, 1854. Cabinetmaker and undertaker, proprietor of furniture factory. But best remembered as author of some famously awful poetry, and above all for his 1866 poem, "Ode on the Mammoth Cheese", a tribute to 7,300-pound cheese that local men built to advertise the Ingersoll brand.
- Donald Smith, 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal (1820–1914), Scottish-born Canadian businessman and philanthropist
- Roy Williamson (1936–1990), Scottish songwriter and folk musician, member of the Corries, who wrote "Flower of Scotland"
- Sir Alexander Grant, 1st Baronet (1864 - 1937), a Scottish businessman, biscuit manufacturer and philanthropist, known as creator of Mcvities Digestive Biscuits.
- Frank Fraser Darling (1903 - 1979), an English ecologist, ornithologist, farmer, conservationist and author. He gives his name to the Fraser Darling effect.
- James Taylor (neurologist) (1859-1946), British neurologist who studied diseases of the nervous system.
- James Scott (Liberal politician) (1876-1939), Scottish lawyer and Liberal party politician.
As with the rest of the British Isles and Scotland, Forres experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. The nearest official Met Office weather station for which online records are available is Kinloss, about 3 miles (5 km) north east of the town centre. The lowest temperature to be recorded in recent years was −16.0 °C (3.2 °F) during December 2010.
|Climate data for Kinloss 5 m (16 ft) asl, 1971-2000, extremes 1960- (Weather station 3 mi (5 km) NE of Forres)|
|Record high °C (°F)||15.1
|Average high °C (°F)||6.6
|Average low °C (°F)||0.6
|Record low °C (°F)||−15.6
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||55.4
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||43.7||73.5||102.3||126.3||180.1||156.6||152.8||140.4||112.5||85.6||51.6||36.0||1,261.4|
|Source 1: Met Office|
|Source 2: Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute/KNMI|
Forres is situated on the A96 trunk route connecting the cities of Aberdeen and Inverness. The River Findhorn was originally crossed by fording near Waterford Farm. A suspension bridge was opened in 1831 to cross the river at the west end of the town. This bridge was replaced by the current bridge in 1938. Due to high volumes of traffic passing through the town centre, a bypass was built in the late 1980s to reduce congestion in the town centre. A new, dual carriageway A96 bypass is planned by the Scottish Government. The A940 connects Forres with Grantown-on-Spey, Aviemore and the south directly without the requirement of driving via Inverness. The B9011 connects Forres to Kinloss Barracks and Findhorn Bay.
Forres railway station is situated just outside the town and is operated by ScotRail. The town of Forres was once a triangular junction in the Highland Railway network, travelling through Forres was once the quickest route to reach Inverness from the south. Originally the station had four platforms; two of which were on the north side of the triangle on the route between Inverness and Aberdeen, the third on the south west side of the triangle used by services to Grantown-on-Spey. The fourth was a short platform on the south east side used by through services between Elgin and Aviemore via Grantown. Trains from Grantown towards Nairn or Inverness had to run through the station and then reverse back into the Aberdeen to Inverness platform. The service to Grantown-on-Spey was closed in the 1960s and now forms part of The Dava Way, a scenic footpath connecting the two towns. The Inverness-Aberdeen down platform was also closed in the 1960s. The station was upgraded in 2017, and now operates two platforms again on the Aberdeen to Inverness line, allowing trains to pass at the station.
Inverness Airport is approximately 30 minutes away by road and provides links mainly to other airports across the UK, as well as regular flights to Amsterdam.
- Anderson's Primary School, High Street (state primary school)
- Applegrove Primary School, Orchard Road (state primary school)
- Pilmuir Primary School, Pilmuir Road (state primary school)
- Forres Academy, Burdsyard Road (state secondary school)
- Moray Steiner School, Drumduan House, Clovenside Road (private school for 5–16-year-olds). Made famous when the Hollywood actress Tilda Swinton sent her children to the school.
A number of Christian churches have a presence in Forres, including:
- St Laurence Church, High Street
- St Leonard's Church, High Street
The Church of Scotland also has a presence around Forres in Dyke, Edinkillie, Kinloss and Rafford.
- St John's, Victoria Road
- St Margaret's, High Street
- Forres Baptist Church, Clovenside Rd
Other denominations / independent churches
- Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, Tytler St
- Turning Point Church, Town Hall, High Street
- Gospel Hall, Caroline Street
Forres has various sporting activities within it including Forres Golf Course, which has held the Scottish Young Professionals championships a number of times. It plays host to Highland Football League team, Forres Mechanics and Junior club Forres Thistle. Forres also hosts the Moray 5-a-side Superleague which runs every week at Forres Community Centre.
Forres Harriers is the local running club with around 80 members. The most famous Harrier is Don Ritchie who at one time held 14 world best times for ultra distance running events ranging from 50 km to 200 km.
Forres has two swimming clubs - the long established Forres Bluefins, as well as the UK's only specialist sprint swimming club, Free Style SC.
Since 2011 an annual triathlon has been staged in Forres. It consists of a 400-metre pool swim, 14 km mountain bike ride (changed in 2014 to a road bike race) and 3.3 km run. It takes place at the end of June. Since 2013 it has been organised by the Moray Firth Triathlon Club.
Forres hosted the first race of the World Orienteering Championships 2015 on Friday 31 July, when the Sprint Qualification event was held there. Two days later on 2 August it hosted the Sprint Final event.
- "Mid-2020 Population Estimates for Settlements and Localities in Scotland". National Records of Scotland. 31 March 2022. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
- "Forres in Bloom" ForresinBloom.co.uk
- "Vol 61 (2016): Prehistoric Settlement Patterns in the North-east of Scotland: Excavations at Grantown Road, Forres 2002-2013 | Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports". journals.socantscot.org. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
- "Scotland's Census Results Online" Archived 2012-03-07 at the Wayback Machine SCROl.gov.uk
- "Mosset Tavern" Archived 20 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine "mossettavern.co.uk"
- "The Carlton Hotel" Archived 2010-04-30 at the Wayback Machine "forresweb.net/carltonhotel"
- "Benromach Distillery" "benromach.com"
- "GSA Highlands and Islands". Institute of Design Innovation. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
- Historic Environment Scotland. "Town Hall, High Street, Forres (LB31643)". Retrieved 29 March 2021.
- "2010 Temperature". Greenpeace.
- "Kinloss 1971-2000 averages". Met Office. Archived from the original on 16 September 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
- "Kinloss Extremes". KNMI. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
- "Project details". www.transport.gov.scot. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
- "Tourist Information — Walks and Cycling" Moray.gov.uk
- "Welcome to Forres Golf Club" ForresGolfClub.co.uk
- "Welcome to The Saints FaceBook page" facebook.com/forrescricket/
- "NoSCA League Page" Archived 2016-03-26 at the Wayback Machine nosca.net
- "Welcome to the Forres Harriers Website" ForresHarriers.org.uk
- "A Brief Club History" ForresHarriers.org.uk
- "Welcome to our specialist sprint swimming club" "FreeStyleSC.org.uk"
- "World Orienteering Championships 2015" WOC2015.org.uk
- Forres Community Council – official community council website
- Forres-net – original town website
- Forres Local – official town website
- Visit Forres – official destination website
- The Forres Gazette – local newspaper
- Census data
- grid reference
- Falconer Museum