Wednesday, 22 September 2021
The lochs at Barnluasgan are home to some of Scotland's newest animal residents. Families of beaver have spent the last decade building lodges and dams, creating a unique wetland landscape in the heart of Argyll.
We recommend visiting at dawn or dusk for the best chance of spotting these shy animals, but you'll see lots of evidence of their work at other times of day. Keep an eye out for felled trees and stripped branches as you explore.
As you walk around the trail, look closely at the beautiful hazel trees and notice the tiny dots and script like markings on the younger stems together with the brown, grey and green leaves and scales on the older stems. These are lichens, mostly restricted to the rainforests of Scotland, Ireland and Norway. Take a magnifying glass with you and look closely - you will see a whole new world. Then, look down to the boulders. Notice the slender, translucent fronds of mosses and liverworts. Again look closely – the variety of shapes and colours will amaze you.
Above the hazelwood, you will see where we have cleared non-native conifers and are in the process of restoring rainforest.
Stroll around picturesque Loch Barnluasgan and find out more about the amazing birds and beasts of Barnluasgan at the wildlife hide. If visiting at dawn or dusk, keep an eye out for swimming beavers and see if you can spot their well-camouflaged lodge.
Smooth, firm and generally wide gravel surface throughout. A short diversion to the wildlife hide is slightly uneven. Mostly flat with some short moderate slopes.
Allow ½ hour
This popular trail is suitable for everyone and great fun for families. There are information boards along the way that will tell you more about who lives in this lovely wood. Half way round there’s a wildlife hide where you can sit and watch for different birds visiting the loch, or just relax and enjoy the lovely views over the water to the Atlantic oak woodland.
Explore the ancient Atlantic oakwoods between Loch Barnluasgan and Loch Linne. As well as a range of native broadleaves, there are great views over Knapdale Forest.
Loose gravel path with some narrow and uneven rocky sections. Several steep slopes with long flights of rough steps. Includes one gate.
Allow 1 hour
Explore the abandoned village of Kilmory Oib and view the glittering waters of the loch on this beautiful circuit.
Numerous short steep slopes with rough steps. Some narrow and rough rocky sections. Short earth section includes tree roots and muddy patches. Includes narrow kissing gates and a road section.
Allow 2 hours
Become a beaver detective on this scenic circuit of Loch Coille-Bharr. Look out for felled trees, stripped branches and beaver canals, and see a real beaver dam from the floating pontoon. Visit at dusk or dawn for an even better chance of spotting these furry foresters.
The trail also passes a crannog (an ancient artificial island in the loch), a ruined mill and the atmospheric ruined village of Kilmory Oib.
Kilmartin Museum has teamed up with Heart of Argyll Wildlife Org (HAWO) to create a self-guided Treasure Hunt Trail. This takes in the best archaeological sites in Argyll, including Barnluasgan./p>
Treasure Trail #HAWO21
Beavers aren't the only animals that call Barnluasgan home. Watch for dragonflies and butterflies around the lochs in summer, spot red squirrel amongst the trees and keep your eyes on the skies for buzzards, eagles and ospreys.
There’s good fishing for brown trout on Lochs Coille-Bharr and Barnluasgan. Permits are available at local hotels and tackle shops.
Head to our unstaffed information centre to learn about the wildlife at Barnluasgan.
You can also visit the Argyll Beaver Centre, just by Loch Barnluasgan, for more information about the local beaver population, and weekly guided walks.
The nearest public toilets and cafés are at Tayvallich, 3 miles south, or Crinan, 3 miles north.
There is no charge to park in this car park. Please park with care and consideration. In particular please park in designated parking areas only and do not block entrances or gates.
Follow signs for Crinan until turning left onto the B8025 at Bellanoch. After about a mile, turn left towards Achnamara and you’ll find Barnluasgan just after the junction on the left.
PA31 8PS is the nearest postcode.
Buses between Lochgilphead and Tayvallich stop at Barnluasgan. Find details at Traveline Scotland.
Take an atmospheric stroll in the heart of Knapdale
Craggy slopes and a dramatic gorge amongst the trees