Find a forest rich for exploring at Ferrycroft
There's plenty to see and do at Ferrycroft, from fun activities in the four star visitor centre to splendid views of Loch Shin from the top of ancient Ord Hill. This is a rich and fascinating place with high-quality archaeology, interesting wildlife and pretty forest trails. Spend an hour here or the day.
Ferrycroft Visitor Centre is open every day from April to October. There's a small cafe, accessible toilets and an excellent exhibition suitable for all ages. Opening hours are 10am - 4pm and admission is free.
The trails are open all day, all year round, so you can still enjoy Ferry Wood and Ord Hill even when the Visitor Centre is closed.
There are other public toilets and places to eat in Lairg village, just a short distance away.
A gentle amble through the Ferry Wood pines to dragonfly ponds and the attractive shore of Little Loch Shin.
Wide, firm and largely smooth gravel surface. Generally flat, with a few short moderate slopes. Includes two gates.
1 miles / 1.7 km Allow ½ hour
This gentle circular trail is suitable for families and pushchairs, with handy picnic benches along the way and a viewpoint over the loch. Stop and examine the beasties at the dipping pond: in summer it's teeming with dragonflies. The access gate to the two Ferry Wood trails is at the far end of the car park, on the other side of the Visitor Centre.
Ord Hill Trail
Walk back 3000 years, when Ord Hill was a thriving farming community, and discover hut circles, chambered cairns and some wonderful views over Lairg and Loch Shin.
Rough, narrow grassy paths. Long fairly steep slopes. Includes a gate, short sections of boardwalk and parts that may be muddy.
1 ¾ miles / 2.7 km Allow 1 hour
Three thousand years ago, this bare hillside was home to a small community who built homes, raised children, grew food and buried their dead here. The trail snakes between their burial cairns, hut circles, burnt mounds, ancient banks and field clearance heaps, giving stunning views over Loch Shin and Ben Klibreck.
You can access the trail from the far end of the car park along a narrow path behind the Visitor Centre building. Alternatively turn right on leaving the centre and you'll see the green Forestry Commission sign on the hillside.
Mountain biking trails
At the crossroads
Ferrycroft is at the crossroads of the north, an ancient meeting place where people have arrived and settled over many thousands of years. There's some fascinating information about the area's Stone Age inhabitants in the visitor centre – but the best way to appreciate how they lived is to explore Ord Hill and see their astonishing remains for yourself. The hill was once covered in low shrubs and trees, but today it is bare, giving sensational open views across Loch Shin to Ben Klibreck. If you're taking your dog please make sure it's kept on a lead as there will be sheep grazing here.
Try a different experience in Ferry Wood, where old Scots pine and native broad-leaved trees provide shelter for wildlife and visitors. You could see herons, frogs and dragonflies here as well black-throated divers on the edge of Little Loch Shin. There's an iron age broch in the woods and a splendid view of the 1950s hydro-electric dam: after half a century it's still faithfully holding back Loch Shin!
Ferrycroft Visitor Centre is operated by the Lairg and District Community on behalf of the Highland Council. There's a tourist information service here as well as an enjoyable exhibition on the area's history and culture.
How to get here
From Inverness take the A9 north to Evanton, turning left onto the B9176 to cross over The Struie. When you reach the Dornoch Firth, turn left onto the A836 and continue through Bonar Bridge, keeping left after the bridge. Lairg is 10 miles (16 km) further along this road.
In Lairg turn left across the new Black Bridge and then immediately turn right through housing to follow the far shore of the loch. After a few hundred yards (100 metres) turn left and then right to reach the car park of Ferrycroft Visitor Centre. There are signs to the car park from the centre of the village.
The car park is at grid reference NC 578 062
IV27 4AZ is the nearest postcode, just along the road before you reach the car park.
There are trains and buses to Lairg from Inverness, Wick and Thurso. The nearest bus stop is on the Black Bridge, a short walk from Ferrycroft. Trains arrive at the railway station 2 miles (3.2 km) away and are usually met by a local bus. For details go to Traveline Scotland and Visit Lairg.
Enjoy short forest trails and leaping salmon at nearby Falls of Shin, or go a little further west to explore exquisite Raven's Rock and admire the log building at Rosehall. Head for Balblair near Bonar Bridge if you're a mountain biker with energy to spare, but for a quiet woodland stroll choose Camore or Skelbo near Dornoch.
Our map guide to the Forests of the Far North will help you discover more wonderful woodlands.
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For questions and complaints, please contact us directly.