Knapdale Forest

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 managed by Forestry and Land Scotland.

Why visit?

Highlights include:

  • Beavers
  • Scotland’s very own rainforest
  • Invertebrates, amphibians and bats
  • 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:

  • birdwatching
  • woodlands
  • wildflowers
  • coasts
  • scenery
  • mammals
  • archaeology

Other information

From 2008 to 2014 Knapdale was home to the Scottish Beaver Trial, a unique partnership project that led to the successful reintroduction of beavers to the UK for the first time in 400 years. For more information, visit the Scottish Beaver Trial website.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust and Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, the lead partners in the Trial, are currently working to reinforce the trial population with new releases to ensure beavers have a long-term future in the area.


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How to get there


Knapdale 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.

Get directions

Getting onto the reserve

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

Access restrictions

Barnluasgan Information Centre feature up-to-date information provided by local experts on the wildlife you can see in the area, including beavers. The Heart of Argyll Wildlife Organisation also offers further information and runs events including regular guided walks.

Nearest town
Lochgilphead (8 mi / 12.9 km)
OS grid ref
Landranger map


About Knapdale Forest

Out & about

Nearby reserves
Ballachuan HazelwoodShian WoodRahoy Hills

Local group
Argyll and Lochaber

Links & downloads


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