A delightfully secluded forest with an easy riverside stroll and atmospheric old oakwoods, teeming with wildlife and history

Glen Nant

Walk with the wildlife at Glen Nant

Glen Nant is a special place. Amongst its lush Atlantic oakwoods you can find evidence of ancient settlements and industry, discover an array of lichens and mosses and spot impressive wood ant colonies and dancing butterflies. You can also enjoy a picnic beside a babbling burn or climb up through the glen for stunning mountain views.

It’s no wonder that Glen Nant has been designated a National Nature Reserve. You can find out much more about its remarkable history and wildlife along the Ant Trail and in our Glen Nant leaflet. If you're interested in nature at Glen Nant, take a look at the latest Plantlife guide.

Our guide to the forests of North Argyll (PDF 3.7MB) will help you explore Glen Nant and other woodlands in this wonderful part of Scotland.

Parking Picnic area Walking Viewpoint

Nearby essentials

You’ll find public toilets and places to eat, drink and shop in the nearby village of Taynuilt, and plenty of facilities in Oban.

Walking trails

Cycling trails

Mountain biking trails

Watching wildlife

There’s plenty to see at Glen Nant. Look out for huge mounds of pine needles and other woodland debris that are the homes of busy colonies of wood ants. The sunny glades in the open woodland attract butterflies and moths, and listen out for warblers and woodpeckers in the trees. You may also spot deer and red squirrels here.

In spring and summer, the woods are bright with bluebells, primroses, wild garlic and wild honeysuckle. You’ll also see how native trees and plants are re-establishing themselves where the conifers are being removed.

These oakwoods, and their array of lichens, mosses and ferns, are internationally important and have been designated a National Nature Reserve. We’re working with Scottish Natural Heritage to manage and restore this valuable remnant of semi-natural woodland.

Long distance cycle route

If you are exploring the area by bike, National Cycle Route 78 passes Glen Nant. This scenic on-road route already links Campbeltown at the tip of the Kintyre Peninsula with Oban and will soon be extended to reach Inverness, via Fort William and Fort Augustus.

A surprising history

Pause to listen at Glen Nant today and you’re likely to hear the chatter of woodland birds and the babbling River Nant. It was very different 400 years ago, when Glen Nant was the centre of a forest industry.

Richard Ford & Company set up an iron furnace at Bonawe, near Taynuilt, in 1753. It required thousands of tons of charcoal each year to fuel the furnace. Timber from Glen Nant was burnt on special ‘hearths’ in the wood, to make the charcoal, which was then carried by pony to Bonawe. You can visit the Bonawe furnace today: it’s cared for by Historic Scotland.

The timber came from oaks that were coppiced – cut down to stumps that would send out lots of new shoots. After 20 years or so, there would be enough new growth to cut them again. You can still see evidence of coppicing here: some of the trees have many trunks emerging from the massive old stumps or ‘stools’.

Contact: West Argyll Forest District

Address: Whitegates, Lochgilphead, Argyll

Postcode: PA31 8RS

Telephone: 0300 067 6650


How to get here

Glen Nant National Nature Reserve is on the B845 between Taynuilt and Kilchrenan.

From the A85 Tyndrum to Oban road, take the turning onto the B845 to Kilchrenan just east of Taynuilt village. Follow this road for about 3 miles (5km) to reach Glen Nant National Nature Reserve. Turn right here and cross a small bridge to enter the car park at grid reference NN 019 272.

If you’re on a bike, National Cycle Route 78 also passes Glen Nant.

Using SatNav?

PA35 1HP is the nearest postcode, at the junction on the A85 for the B845 to Kilchrenan.

Public transport

There is a bus service between Oban and Dalavich that passes Glen Nant National Nature Reserve. Find details at Traveline Scotland.

Nearby places

It’s only a short hop towards Oban to reach Fearnoch, a peaceful woodland beside the A85 that’s ideal for a stroll, cycle or horse-ride. There are stunning views of Ben Cruachan and plenty of places to picnic.

Head north along the coast towards Ballachulish to reach Beinn Lora, where it’s well worth the short, steep climb through conifer and beech woods for panoramic coast and mountain views.

There’s another surprising industry hidden in this area. Visit Cruachan between Taynuilt and Loch Awe, to find out about the remarkable hydro-electric scheme lying deep inside the mountain of Ben Cruachan.

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