Explore these ancient and magical oakwoods, find a Fairies' Road beside the rushing Strontian River and take a boardwalk to discover the wildlife of the woods. Stunning at any time of the year, Ariundle is a riot of red and gold in autumn and a sparkling place to explore in winter.
Ariundle (Airigh Fhionndail – the shieling of the white meadow) is a very special place. It’s one of the richest surviving fragments of the ancient oakwoods that once grew along the Atlantic seaboard from Spain to Norway. Primitive mosses, lichens and ferns grow in abundance in the lush coastal climate and the woods are home to rare and beautiful butterflies and dragonflies. The oak woodland is so important that it has been designated a National Nature Reserve.
Look closely, and you can still find platforms in the woods at Ariundle where charcoal burners built their stacks of wood. A thriving community once lived in the woodland, producing bark for leather tanning and timber as well as charcoal.
This fabulous route passes through one of Scotland’s finest mature Atlantic oakwoods and follows the lovely Strontian River with unforgettable views up the glen to Sgùrr Dhòmhnuill.
Uneven gravel surface with grassy sections. Some narrow, rocky and muddy parts. Short fairly steep slopes. Includes some bridges and a long section of wooden boardwalk.
Allow 1½ hours
The Ariundle National Nature Reserve is rich in wildlife – watch out for butterflies and dragonflies in early summer and golden eagles overhead, listen for woodland birds all year round and spot a host of mosses, lichens and ferns thriving on the damp forest floor.
You can go either way around this circuit, but we like walking anti-clockwise to enjoy dramatic views up the glen.
You'll find refreshments in Ariundle, and public toilets, places to eat, shopping and information at Strontian.
From Strontian, follow the unclassified road towards Polloch. After 1 mile (1.6 km), turn right at the junction and follow the Forestry Commission signs to the car park.
PH36 4JA is the nearest postcode.
There are buses from Fort William to Strontian every day except Sunday. Find timetables at Traveline Scotland.
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