Take it easy at Sibster
Sibster is a new broadleaf woodland on the site of an old Caithness farm – and one of the few forests you can actually get to by train.
You'll see traditional slab fences and drystone dykes, as well as brightly-coloured wildflowers amongst the young growing trees. There are gentle trails and wide open views across the vast Caithness landscape whatever time of year you visit. Come back again and again and follow the forest taking shape.
Our map guide to the forests of the Far North will help you explore Sibster and other forest trails in Sutherland.
The nearest toilets and places to eat are in Halkirk and Thurso, 2 miles (3.2 km) and 6 miles (9.6 km) away respectively.
A short stroll around this newly-planted former farmland to a fine picnic site beside a small waterfall.
Firm gravel path throughout with loose surface stones. Moderate slopes and two short fairly steep ramps.
¾ miles / 1.3 km Allow ½ hour
Rowans produce pretty white flowers in spring and rich red berries in autumn so they're great for insects and birds. We've planted thousands of them at Sibster, as well as oak, birch, ash, beech and alder. Follow a circular route through these slender young trees and see if you can spot which is which.
Bumble along through the wildflower meadows by the Sibster Burn that are protected as a bumble bee conservation area.
Firm gravel surface throughout, with loose surface stones and a more uneven section. Moderate slopes and two fairly steep ramps.
2 miles / 3.2 km Allow 1 hour
Golden flag irises grow profusely beside the Sibster burn and you'll see Morvern, the highest hill in Caithness, brooding on the horizon. The circular route takes you through a bumblebee conservation area where we're helping to protect habitat for the great yellow bumblebee. This gentle giant is very rare and only found here in the north.
Mountain biking trails
Explore on horseback
Horse riders are welcome in the forest. You'll find horsebox parking along the Sibster farm track, about 100 yards (100 metres) from the car park entrance.
A forest for the future
We planted 350,000 trees here in 2010 and the alder, beech, birch, oak and rowan are slowly growing into a sheltered haven for wildlife and visitors. It's already a great place to spot small birds and rare insects - like the great yellow bumblebee, which feeds off Sibster's many wildflowers.
The humming of contented bees isn't the only sound you'll hear in Sibster. The North Highland railway line runs through the forest and the peaceful Caithness air is sometimes shattered by the sudden thunder of trains! For those arriving by rail there's a direct path into the forest from the station at Georgemas Junction.
Sibster is one of several new forests that are quietly tackling climate change in Scotland. Growing trees absorb the greenhouse gas CO2, removing carbon from the atmosphere and locking it up safely for many years.
Sibster is a 'carbon capture woodland' where we've carefully choosen the best combination of site and species to store carbon. That's why you'll see a mix of native broadleaves here, with some conifers too.
How to get here
From Thurso, take the A9 south for 6 miles (9.6 km). You'll see Sibster car park on your right, before you reach Georgemas Junction railway station.
Coming from the south, stay on the A9 past Georgemas Junction railway station. The entrance to the car park is on your left about ¼ mile (400 metres) after the station.
The car park is at grid reference ND 155 596.
KW12 6XA is the nearest postcode, at Georgemas Junction station.
Sibster car park is five minutes’ walk from Georgemas Junction railway station. There's a direct path from the station car park into the forest, avoiding the main road. All trains from Inverness to Wick and Thurso stop here. For times and fares see Scotrail.
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For questions and complaints, please contact us directly.