Thursday, 28 September 2023
Walk through native woodland to our lochside wildlife hide
The perfect place for a peaceful lochside picnic and the start of some scenic trails through oak woodland on the fringes of Loch Sunart.
Take a short easy stroll to a bench with panoramic views or wander amongst ancient oaks to the Garbh Eilean Wildlife Hide.
These semi-natural woodlands are home to some of the best collections of lower plants (plants which do not flower) in the whole of Europe. The clean air, moist climate and long continuity of woodland cover have combined to produce ideal conditions for lichens, mosses and liverworts. On the edges of the Sunart oakwoods in early summer, you might also be lucky enough to spot the rare chequered skipper butterfly.
A short stroll through regenerating native woodland to a fine viewpoint overlooking Loch Sunart.
Smooth gravel surface throughout, with some slightly uneven sections. Includes a number of short steep slopes.
Allow ¼ hour
Look out for vivid green ferns, mosses and lichens amongst the trees: they thrive in the clean air and moist coastal climate here.
Garbh Eilean Trail
This winding route through the vibrant oakwoods whets your appetite for the wonderful waterside wildlife at Garbh Eilean hide.
Wide, smooth gravel surface with some slightly uneven sections. Several steep slopes. One section of boardwalk.
Allow ¾ hour
Go quietly down to the wildlife hide to spot basking seals, stately herons and perhaps an otter or a sea eagle.
Facilities and access
Car parking information
The car park can hold seven cars. There is an easy access picnic bench suitable for visitors with wheelchairs near the parking area.
There is also a parking area at Garbh Eilean Wildlife Hide, ½ mile west (towards Salen), where the short trail down to the hide is suitable for everyone.
The charges to park at this forest car park are:
- £1 for up to 1 hour – all vehicles
- £3 for all day
- Blue Badge holders park free. Please display your Blue Badge clearly.
Payment can be made using RingGo.
Please park with care and consideration. In particular please park in designated parking areas only and do not block entrances or gates. Nearby car parks with free parking can be found in our Forest Search, marked as a 'P' without the £ symbol.
Annual parking pass available:
Available in advance by downloading the application form and emailing to the Regional Office. Please read our Annual Pass terms and conditions (PDF) before applying.
Valid at Braveheart (Glen Nevis), Loch Linnhe, Loch Oich, Aros Park (Mull), North Face, Ariundle, Glencoe Lochan, Glengarry, Glen Righ, Àrd-Àirigh, Garbh Eilean Wildlife Hide, Barnluasgan, Sutherland's Grove, Strone Hill, Glen Lochy, Fearnoch, Carradale (Grianan), Carradale (Port Na Storm), Ardcastle, Achnabreac.
Valid at all Forestry and Land Scotland car parks except Tentsmuir.
The nearest public toilets, fuel, shops and places to eat and drink are in Strontian and Salen, 5 miles in either direction from Àrd-Àirigh car park.
Stay the night
Motorhomes and campervans that are self-contained and have their own toilet facilities will be able to stay overnight at this car park from 1 April – 31 October 2023.
There is a £7 charge to Stay the Night at all participating car parks. Payment can be made through RingGo with details of how to do this at each car park.
To help plan your stay, please see the details below:
- Height barrier – No
- Motorhome capacity of car park – 1
- Suitable for large vehicles/caravans – No
- Parking notes – Car park fairly level but levelling blocks recommended. Please park at the back of the car park.
Please visit our Stay the Night page for full details, participating locations, best practice, and terms and conditions of use.
Àrd-Àirigh car park (signposted as Ardery) is on the south side of the A861, halfway between Strontian and Salen.
PH36 4HY is the nearest postcode.
Spot seals, herons and otters on Loch Sunart
Ancient woodland leads to a peaceful natural harbour