Step back in time and discover 4,000 year-old rock art
There’s plenty to see in the attractive open woodland here, including one of the finest set of cup and ring marked rocks in Britain. Follow the Cup and Ring Trail to marvel at these mysterious ancient symbols, take a gentle stroll around a fascinating wetland area or simply bring a picnic and relax in the peaceful forest.
Achnabreac is part of the ancient kingdom of Dalriada, the birthplace of the Scottish nation. It was centred on Dunadd, a rocky crag just to the north of Achnabreac, which was the crowning place of its kings. Explore the area to find remains of thousands of years of human occupation
Kilmartin House Museum is a great place to find out more about this area’s fascinating history. Along the Dalriada Heritage Trail you can discover more amazing cup and ring marked rocks as well as other evocative archaeological sites.
If you’re looking for something more energetic and exhilarating, this is also home to the Firetower Trail, a single track mountain bike route through the forest with exciting options for the more experienced mountain biker.
Rock Art Trail
This trail cuts through the forest to visit one of Achnabreac’s enigmatic cup and ring marked rocks. There are also great views over Loch Gilp to the hills of Arran.
Wide, firm and smooth gravel surface throughout. Some moderate slopes, but plenty of resting places along the way.
Allow ¼ hour
A gentle zig zag slope through the trees leading to a viewing board and interpretation panel giving information about the area’s archaeology.
A gentle meander around the low-lying wetlands, where you can look for waterbirds and colourful dragonflies.
Firm gravel surface throughout with some loose sections. Mostly flat with some moderate slopes. Includes one section of boardwalk and areas that may be wet after rain.
Allow ¼ hour
This short circular trail around low-lying wetlands, dotted with broadleaved trees and fringed with conifers, is ideal for families. There are lovely open views of the forest and surrounding area as you stroll along.
Cup and Ring Trail
Discover some of Scotland’s most extensive prehistoric rock art. On the edge of the forest are a series of stones carved with cups and rings over 4,000 years ago.
Uneven gravel path, with some narrow, grassy and potentially muddy sections. Some steep slopes. Includes sections of boardwalk with steps. Look out for vehicles along the forest road.
Allow ¾ hour
Marvel at these mysterious symbols, carved by a lost culture over 4,000 years ago. The trail climbs gently uphill through old oak woodland, which is a riot of colour in autumn, and there are good views over Lochgilphead, Knapdale and Loch Fyne as you reach higher ground.
Mountain biking trails
From the site of an old fire tower, this trail has it all: flowing single track, technical features, stunning views and all within minutes of Lochgilphead.
Five sections of single track, linked by forest road. Jink through the trees, burn rubber on the Twisted Fire Starter, bust a lung on Murder Hill, cool off in the Water Splash, then Rock and Roll back to the car park.
Cycling for everyone
Achnabreac and Kilmichael Forest offer a range of cycling experiences suitable for everyone. The towpath beside the Crinan Canal, part of the National Cycle Route 78, is perfect for families looking for a gentle, scenic ride. There are also plenty of forest roads criss-crossing the woodland that you can explore at your leisure.
Kilmichael Forest is a precious remnant of the Atlantic oakwoods that began spreading when the Ice Age ended and once stretched along the whole Atlantic seaboard from Norway to the south of Spain. The old oakwoods and the more recent conifers are home to a whole host of creatures that you might spot as you explore. Watch out for red squirrels, red and roe deer, crossbills, tiny goldcrests and hunting sparrowhawks.
Facilities & access
You’ll find public toilets and plenty of places to eat, drink and shop at nearby Lochgilphead.
Achnabreac is about 2½ miles (4km) north of Lochgilphead on the A816. Look for a turning onto a forest road, with a green sign to ‘Achnabreac’. Follow this for about ¼ mile (500 metres) to reach the turning into the car park.
PA31 8RE is the nearest postcode.
There are regular buses running between Lochgilphead and Tayvallich, which stop at Bridgend and Cairnbaan, both close to Achnabreac. Find details at Traveline Scotland.
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