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Loch Ard

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Loch Ard Forest Notices

  • The Statute Labour Road from Loch Dhu to Stronachlacher and the Military Road from Stronachlacher to RSPB Invesnaid are both currently closed due to a series of landslips. Please obey all site safety signage. The routes are not safely passable at this time. 
  • There are currently tree felling works taking place in the Crannog peninsula of the ‘8 mile loop’ black waymarked trail. During this time there will be no access to this area and a diversion will be in place until October 2019. Please obey all site safety signage and directions from operators. We’re sorry for any inconvenience. 

A picturesque loch ideal for family strolls and cycle rides

The gently rolling tracks around Loch Ard are made for exploring by bike and, with sculpture trails and play features to find, they are great fun for all the family. Watch out for woodland and water-loving wildlife along the way too.

Guide map to Queen Elizabeth Forest Park (PDF 4.7MB)

Walking trails

Walking

Ben Lomond Viewpoint Trail

Ascend through the conifers to a fine viewpoint overlooking the Forth Valley that delivers a fantastic view of one of Scotland’s best-loved peaks.

Firm gravel surface with some loose and uneven sections. Steep slopes up to viewpoint, including one flight of steps. Look out for vehicles and other users.

Moderate
2 miles / 3.4 km

Allow
1 hour

More information

Your efforts are rewarded with spectacular views over Ben Lomond, Craigmore and Aberfoyle. On a clear day, you can also see a series of rolling hills in the distance, including the Menteith, Ochil, Gargunnock and Fintry Hills and the Campsie Fells.

Walking

Lochan Spling Trail

A scenic trail across the Duchray Water to a picturesque little loch that is teeming with wildlife, including some unusual creatures.

Firm gravel surface throughout, with some loose sections and occasionally muddy patches. Some short fairly steep slopes. Includes one wide bridge.

Moderate
2 ½ miles / 4.2 km

Allow
1½ hours

More information

This trail is ideal for walking or cycling. It climbs gently through mixed woodland to loop around Lochan Spling. Watch out for jays and crossbills in the trees as you go and look for damselflies near the lochan. This is a great place for a picnic and you can watch for waterbirds – and perhaps even an osprey fishing.

Look out for wildlife sculptures along the way, including a wonderful wiry osprey. Not all the fish in the loch are as big as the pike that's permanently leaping in the shallows!

Walking

Couligarten

A scenic meander through varied woodland at the head of Loch Ard with great views over the loch and the hills beyond.

Largely firm gravel surface. One section of uneven gravel path with muddy patches. Includes steep slopes and one section of boardwalk. Look out for vehicles on the bottom track.

Moderate
2 ¾ miles / 4.4 km

Allow
1½ hours

More information

This trail starts from a small car park at Kinlochard at the western end of Loch Ard. From Aberfoyle, follow the B829 beside Loch Ard to reach Kinlochard. Turn left at the end of the loch. The car park is on the right at the end of the public road.

The route climbs gradually into Loch Ard Forest through mixed woodland and an area of young spruce. Catch your breath at the highest point and savour the sweeping views of Loch Ard and the surrounding hills. Descend again through conifers to the little hamlet of Couligarten, then along an avenue of native oak and birch trees. Look out for an aqueduct as you go – the trail passes beneath it. It carries the water supply for Glasgow all the way from Loch Katrine!

Walking

Loch Ard Sculpture Trail

Explore the picturesque shores of Loch Ard, Little Loch Ard and Lochan a’ Ghleannin and look for some unusual sculptures. An ideal route for families, whether on foot or bike.

Firm gravel surface throughout. Mostly wide but with some muddy and uneven sections. Long moderate slopes with several short steep sections. Look out for vehicles and other users.

Moderate
4 ¼ miles / 6.7 km

Allow
2½ hours

More information

Keep your eyes peeled for some unusual woodland sculptures too – will you spot the mirage foxes, a mirrored eagle and some brave red squirrels fighting back against the greys?

Walking

Eight Mile Loop

A long loop through peaceful Loch Ard Forest, passing along the loch shore before climbing to reveal sublime views on Ben Venue and Ben Lomond. A great family friendly route suitable for walking and cycling.”

Mostly wide, loose gravel tracks with some uneven sections and muddy patches. Long moderate slopes with several short steeper sections. Look out for vehicles and other users.

Strenuous
8 ½ miles / 13.8 km

5½ hrs

Cycling trails

Cycling

Lochan Spling Trail

A short family friendly cycling trail which takes you on a circular route around the picturesque Lochan Spling.

2 ½ miles / 4.2 km

More information

Moderate slopes on wide firm forest roads, suitable for most bikes. Surfaces may be uneven or potholed in places. Look out for vehicles and other users

Cycling

Loch Ard Sculpture Trail

This trail is a shorter alternative to the Eight Mile Loop and passes by the shores of Lochan a’ Ghleannin, Loch Ard, Little Loch Ard. Keeps your eyes peeled for a variety of woodland wildlife and sculptures along the way such as mirror foxes and ninja squirrels.

4 ¼ miles / 6.7 km

More information

Moderate slopes on wide firm forest roads, suitable for most bikes. Surfaces may be uneven or potholed in places. Look out for vehicles and other users.

Cycling

Eight Mile Cycle Loop

A longer family-friendly cycle route that winds through peaceful Loch Ard Forest, passing scenic lochans and the rushing Duchray Water.

8 ½ miles / 13.8 km

Allow
1½ hours

More information

This rolling route on forest roads through Loch Ard Forest is perfect for family cycling. The area is rich in animals, birds, insects and plants, so listen out for chattering woodland birds and watch for darting deer as you wind through the conifers. You can also spot whacky sculptures and Gaelic markers that reveal more about the forest’s wildlife!

Terrain description

Moderate slopes on wide firm forest roads, suitable for most bikes. Surfaces may be uneven or potholed in places. Look out for vehicles and other users.

Activities

Horse riding

The trails through Loch Ard Forest and beside the loch are ideal for horse riding. There’s a car park with plenty of room for horse boxes too.

Wildlife watching

Watch out for wildlife as you explore Loch Ard and the forest here. There’s a resting point at the end of Lochan Spling, where you can watch woodland birds, red squirrels and, if you’re lucky, spot an osprey fishing in the summer. Visit The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre above Aberfoyle to see remote camera footage of ospreys and other species.

To guarantee an encounter with forest creatures, take one of the Sculpture Trails here. You’ll find some surprising woodland residents, including mirage foxes, a wiry osprey, a leaping fish and some ‘Star Wars Squirrels’! There are also unusual seats and shelters where you can catch your breath and enjoy the views. The artworks were created by local artist Rob Mullholland.

Fishing

Loch Ard is home to pike, perch and brown trout. Buy a permit from Forest Hills Hotel in Kinlochard.

Watersports

Loch Ard’s sheltered waters are popular for sailing, rowing and canoeing. There is a watersports centre on the lochside near Kinlochard where you can hire boats.

Long distance trails

Look out for fingerposts to the Statute Labour Road. This scenic historic route links Aberfoyle and Loch Arklet and makes a great long distance cycle route to Loch Katrine. You can also use it to reach the equally historic Military Road (also marked with fingerposts) that links Aberfoyle with the West Highland Way and Loch Lomond at Inversnaid. It was built to service the 18th century Inversnaid Garrison.

Facilities & access

Parking
Parking
Campsite
Campsite
Picnic area
Picnic area

There are public toilets and plenty of places to eat, drink and shop at Aberfoyle. You can also hire bikes in Kinlochard or Aberfoyle.

Getting here

Heading west from the centre of Aberfoyle, avoid following the main road as it turns right uphill, instead heading straight on along the B829 towards Kinlochard. After 1 mile you'll see a sign for 'Loch Ard Forest' on the left.

Using SatNav?

FK8 3TF is the nearest postcode.

Public transport

There are regular buses from Stirling to Aberfoyle. Plan your journey at Traveline Scotland.

Get directions

Get in touch

Have a question or suggestion for improvement?

Phone
0131 370 5674
More contact information

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