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Most of our visitor centres, car parks and mountain bike trails are now open. Check what’s open near you before you travel and enjoy your visit safely.

Glenbranter

Where we are

Forest notice

COVID-19 has changed lots of things we do. And as we re-open the majority of our facilities and welcome more of you back in Phase 3, we need your help to do it safely. Please check what’s open before you travel; enjoy your visit safely by following NHS and Scottish Government guidance; take your litter home with you; and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

At this location:

  • The car park is open and normal charges (if any) now apply.
  • Toilets are open.

Please bear with us and check back regularly for updates. You can also find more information by visiting our COVID-19 page and our FAQs.


  • Tree felling is ongoing in the Whistlefield area on trees infected with the disease, Phytopthora ramorum. Please adhere to all safety signage and instructions. Please follow our Keep it clean advice before and after a visit to any woodland. Information on why this work is necessary (PDF 4MB)
  • The Glen Eck Trail is currently closed due to recent storm damage.

Short walks and long rides in the centre of Argyll Forest Park

One of the jewels of the Forest Park, Glenbranter has trails from a short stroll among ancient oaks to a challenging all-day bike ride.

The first trees of what was to become the Argyll Forest Park were planted here in the 1920s, after entertainer Harry Lauder leased the ground to the Forestry Commission. Later, Glenbranter village was built for workers who came here to work the forests of Cowal.

Guide map to Argyll Forest Park (PDF 4.6MB)

Walking trails

Walking

Broadleaves Trail

A charming wander through native oak, birch and hazel woodland, and a fine avenue of cypress and beech that was planted for the Glenbranter Estate.

Firm but uneven gravel surface throughout. Includes some steep slopes and a flight of steps.

Moderate
1 miles / 1.5 km

Allow
¾ hour

More information

Part of this trail takes you through trees that were planted long ago as a backdrop to the original Estate house. The red squirrels here are some of the most active in the forest: you can often watch them scampering among the branches.

Walking

Waterfall Trail

A dramatic route up the Allt Robuic gorge, where native oakwoods cloak a series of spectacular waterfalls.

Uneven gravel paths with exposed tree roots and narrow or muddy sections. Includes a number of steep slopes with flights of uneven steps. Several bridges.

Moderate
2 ¼ miles / 3.6 km

Allow
1½ hours

More information

The banks of the Allt Robuic still hold remnants of ancient oak woodland, and an impressive variety of mosses and liverworts grow in the damp air. Climb a little further up Glenbranter to the waterfalls, which are particularly spectacular after heavy rain. The trail also passes our wildlife hide: rest quietly for a few minutes and you might see red squirrels, roe deer, buzzards, woodpeckers or crossbills.

Walking

Glen Eck Trail (closed)

A trail notice is in effect

This trail is currently closed due to recent storm damage. We hope to have it open again as soon as possible.

The stiff but rewarding ascent below Creag Bhaogh reveals wonderful views across Glen Eck to Beinn Bheula and Beinn Mhôr.

Long steep slopes for up to 500m. Firm gravel and grassy surface throughout. Includes some short flights of steps.

Strenuous
2 miles / 3.2 km

Allow
1½ hours

More information

Keep an eye out for ravens, crossbills and buzzards.

Cycling trails

Cycling

Glenshellish Loop

A gentle taste of the wild – and all the fun of a ford!

6 ¾ miles / 11.0 km

Allow
1½ hours

More information

This route gives a fantastic feeling of being much further out in the wilds than you actually are – it’s a great introduction to the delights of off road cycling. You might spot red and roe deer and you can have fun splashing through the ford at the head of the glen. The ride downhill back towards Glenbranter will give you plenty of time to admire the views of Beinn Bheula and Beinn Laggan across the glen.

Terrain description

Firm forest road with some loose material. Soft going in places after heavy rain. Mainly gentle slopes. The ford halfway round can be impassable after heavy rain.

Cycling

Loch Eck Loop

A grand – and demanding – day out, with some of the best views in Cowal.

21 ¾ miles / 35.0 km

Allow
6 hours

More information

A real treat for those determined (and fit) enough! This circular loop takes you through the forests fringing Loch Eck, which sits in a gully left over from the last ice age and is now the main water source for Dunoon.

Most riders start and finish the loop at Glenbranter, heading clockwise by crossing the A815 and climbing up the forest track at Invernoaden. It’s a sustained climb, better done while your legs are fresh, and the reward is some of the best views in Cowal. You can look down on to Loch Eck, Dunoon and the Clyde, and west to Beinn Mhor. On a clear day you’ll see the west coast and the islands of Jura and Islay.

Terrain description

Mostly forest road, with a short section of the A815 between Glenbranter and Invernoaden and single track sections at Inverchapel and Benmore. Very steep slopes in places.

Activities

Wildlife hide

Take time out at our wildlife hide. Sit quietly and see what forest birds and creatures you can spot.

Facilities & access

Toilets
Toilets
Parking
Parking
Picnic area
Picnic area

There are public toilets atached to the Glenbranter Forest Office, where you can also pick up a map. If any staff are in, we'll be happy to offer assistance if you need it.

Getting here

Glenbranter is signposted from the A815, between Strachur and the north end of Loch Eck.

Using SatNav?

PA27 8DJ is the nearest postcode.

Public transport

Buses between Dunoon and Strachur pass the entrance to the forest. Plan your journey at Traveline Scotland.

Get directions

Get in touch

Have a question or suggestion for improvement?

Phone
0300 067 6600 (option 2)
More contact information

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