The heart of Knapdale – home of the Scottish Beaver Trial, wonderful wildlife, lochside trails and a spectacular cycle circuit


Go wild at Barnluasgan

Barnluasgan is the ideal place to start your discovery of Knapdale’s many highlights. Follow scenic trails to the peaceful lochs of Barnluasgan, Coille-Bharr and Dubh, where you might be lucky enough to spot the shy beavers – or at least see evidence of their work. Look out for red squirrels, ospreys and eagles too. An unstaffed information centre will tell you more about Knapdale’s wildlife and unique landscape.


  • We are going to be felling trees around Loch Barnluasgan from Monday 3 December to mid February. The Wildlife trail and car park will be closed for public safety until works end. The Barnluasgan Oakwood Trail will remain open with limited parking at the entrance to the wildlife visitor centre at the north end of Loch Barnluasgan. Alternative trails and car parking nearby at Loch Coille Bharr and the all abilities Rock Art Trail starting at Achnabreac upper car park.

Parking Visitor centre Walking Easy-access trails Wildlife hide Horse riding Fishing

Time for a rest?

You’ll find refreshments and public toilets at Crinan. Head to nearby Lochgilphead for a selection of shops and places to eat and drink.

Walking trails

PLEASE NOTE: We are going to be felling trees around Loch Barnluasgan from early December to mid February. The walking trails and car park will be closed for public safety until works end. Alternative trails and car parking nearby at Loch Coille Bharr, and the all-abilities Rock Art Trail starting at Achnabreac upper car park.

Cycling trails

Mountain biking trails

The return of the native

The wildlife highlight at Barnluasgan has to be its families of beavers. These busy water-born foresters tend to be very shy but the best time to see them is dawn or dusk (don’t forget your binoculars). Even if you’re not lucky enough to spot one, you will certainly see some of their handiwork – look out for felled trees, ingenious dams and the flooded woodland they’ve engineered. The beavers share their new home with a host of other creatures too. Watch for dragonflies and butterflies around the lochs in summer, spot red squirrels amongst the trees and keep your eyes on the skies for buzzards, eagles and ospreys.


There’s good fishing for brown trout on Lochs Coille-Bharr and Barnluasgan. Permits are available at local hotels and tackle shops.

The Scottish Beaver Trial

Knapdale Forest was chosen as the test site for the reintroduction of wild beavers to Scotland after being extinct in the UK for over 400 years. The beavers were released in 2009 and successfully built lodges and raised families.

The trial was a ground-breaking five year study, exploring how beavers could enhance and restore natural environment. The beavers are at present remaining at Knapdale.

Contact: West Argyll Forest District

Address: Whitegates, Lochgilphead, Argyll

Postcode: PA31 8RS

Telephone: 0300 067 6650


How to get here

Barnluasgan lies just off the B8025 between Bellanoch and Tayvallich.

Follow the A816 north out of Lochgilphead then, after about 2½ miles (4km), take the B841 towards Crinan. Turn left at Bellanoch onto the B8025. After about a mile (1.5km) turn left towards Achnamara and you’ll find Barnluasgan just after the junction on the left. Barnluasgan car park is at grid reference NR 790 910.

You can also park at nearby Loch Coille-Bharr car park, where you can join the Loch Coille-Bharr and Ardnoe trails. It’s beside the B8025, about ½ mile (1 km) farther on towards Tayvallich, and is signposted ‘Knapdale Forest’. The grid reference is NR 783 906.

Using SatNav?

PA31 8PS is the nearest postcode.

Public transport

Buses between Lochgilphead and Tayvallich stop at Barnluasgan. Find details at Traveline Scotland.

Nearby places

Head a bit farther into Knapdale to find Gleann a Gealbhan. A short trail through the woods leads to the evocative ruins of Arichonan, a village cleared of its residents in 1848. At Dunardry you can explore a forest on the craggy slopes above the Crinan Canal. There are trails suitable for everyone. Visit the little harbour at Crinan and then head up through Atlantic oakwoods above the village to some spectacular viewpoints overlooking the Crinan Canal, the Sound of Jura and the Inner Hebrides.

Our leaflet guide to the forests of Mid Argyll & Kintyre will help you explore more wonderful woodlands.

Share your experience

For questions and complaints, please contact us directly.