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A breathtaking Atlantic oakwood, peaceful and serene

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 rainforests that are restricted to the Atlantic seaboard, otherwise, most notably in Ireland and Norway. 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 for iron smelting.

Walking trails

Ariundle Walking Trails Route Card (PDF)


Ariundle Trail (diverted)

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.

Moderate trail grade icon
2 ¾ miles / 4.5 km

1½ hours

More information

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.

Facilities and access

Parking (charge)
Parking (charge)
Picnic area
Picnic area

Life's essentials

You'll find refreshments in Ariundle, and public toilets, places to eat, shopping and information at Strontian.

Car parking information

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.

West Coast Car Park Pass - £40 per car and £100 per mini bus/coach
FLS National Car Park Pass - £100 per car and £150 per mini bus/coach

Valid at all Forestry and Land Scotland car parks except Tentsmuir.

FLS National Pass application form


More about parking

Stay the Night

We are trialling an extension of Stay the Night to run over winter this year. This means motorhomes and campervans that are self-contained and have their own toilet facilities will be able to stay overnight at this car park.

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 – 2
  • Suitable for large vehicles/caravans – No
  • Parking notes – Car park on slight slope - levelling blocks recommended. Please leave a 4m gap between other motorhomes and park in bays.

Please visit our Stay the Night page for full details, participating locations, best practice, and terms and conditions of use.

Stay the night

Getting here

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.

Using SatNav?

PH36 4JA is the nearest postcode.

Public transport

There are buses from Fort William to Strontian every day except Sunday. Find timetables at Traveline Scotland.

Get directions

Get in touch

Have a question or suggestion for improvement?

0300 067 6650 (option 1)
More contact information

Nearby forests

Green and yellow beech leaves

An atmospheric walk with stunning views of Loch Sunart

Facilities and activities
Distance from 'Ariundle': 1.12 miles
Aerial view of a loch through a pine woodland with hills in the background.

A wild, remote glen with sweeping views of Loch Shiel

Facilities and activities
Parking icon
Distance from 'Ariundle': 2.18 miles
Close up of tree bark

Walk through native woodland to our lochside wildlife hide 

Facilities and activities
Parking (charge)
Parking (charge)
Wildlife hide
Wildlife hide
Picnic area
Picnic area
Distance from 'Ariundle': 3.22 miles