Steep, rocky ridges - or 'knaps' - cloaked in woodland, separated by narrow, often flooded 'dales', create a landscape unique in Scotland where land juts out into the sea at Loch Sween. The site is owned by Forestry Commission Scotland.

Knapdale is home to the Scottish Beaver Trial, a unique partnership project which has reintroduced beavers to the UK for the first time in 400 years on a trial basis. For more information, visit the Scottish Beaver Trial website.

Otter (c) Steve Gardner

Why visit?

  • Scotland's very own rainforest
  • Home of the Scottish Beaver Trial
  • Important site for otters
  • Atlantic oak woodland

Best time to visit?

  • May to Jul for woodland plants
  • Spring to catch a glimpse of beavers
  • Anytime for woodland walks

Visit for:

  • Archaeology
  • Mammals
  • Scenery
  • Coasts
  • Wildflowers
  • Woodlands
  • Birdwatching


The reserve is located approximately 7 miles north-west of Lochgilphead at the north end of the Kintyre peninsula in the heart of Argyll.

To get to the Barnluasgan Information Centre, take the A816 road to Crinan and then the B8025 to Tayvallich. Public buses also run from Lochgilphead to Tayvallich a few times a day.

Getting onto the reserve

Visit the Barnluasgan Information Centre or access the reserve via the Forestry Commission car-parks.

Getting round this reserve

Barnluasgan Information Centre gives up-to-date information on the wildlife you can see in the area, including the beavers.


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