A world of trees in one small woodland

Lael Forest Garden

Explore enchanting Lael Forest Garden

In the 19th century tree hunters travelled the world collecting rare seed and planting them in arboreta – specialist tree collections – like this one. Spend some time in the exotic freshness of this extraordinary woodland and enjoy making your own discoveries.

You'll come across rare and common trees and shrubs from nearly every country of the world, as well as some wonderful champion trees. Use the Lael Forest Garden map to help you explore.

Parking Picnic area Walking Arboretum

Life's essentials

You'll find toilets, shops and a range of places to eat in Ullapool, about 10 miles (16 km) away.

Walking trails

Cycling trails

Mountain biking trails

Tree survivors

We've been looking after Lael since 1929 and adding new and interesting species ever since, like the amazing Wollemi Pine, an Australian conifer first discovered in 1994. This intriguing species has been around since dinosaurs walked the earth, yet a single bushfire could have destroyed the entire population in a day.

By planting conifers like the Wollemi Pine here we're helping to safeguard the survival of tree species threatened by climate change and other hazards around the world.

The oldest trees were planted in the 1870s when the estate belonged to Sir John Fowler, a chief engineer for the Forth Bridge. Some of them are getting pretty big these days with various Champion Trees in the collection - including some splendid examples of Forrest's Fir and Delavay's Silver Fir.

Lael Forest Garden is a member of the National Tree Collections of Scotland, a national network of public and private tree collections which includes the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Benmore Botanic Garden and Dawyck Botanic Garden, as well as Forestry Commission Scotland collections at Kilmun Arboretum, Puck's Glen and Glenbranter.

Contact: Forest Enterprise Scotland

Address: The Links, Golspie Business Park, Golspie

Postcode: KW10 6UB

Telephone: 0300 067 6850


How to get here

Lael Forest Garden is on the A835 between Ullapool and Braemore Junction. The north car park is 10 miles (16km) south of Ullapool opposite the woodturning centre, at grid reference NH 196 810.

There's a second car park ¼ mile (400 metres) further south at grid reference NH 196 806.

Using SatNav?

IV23 2RS is the nearest postcode.

Public transport

Buses between Inverness and Ullapool pass the forest. See Traveline Scotland for details.

Nearby places

For longer forest trails and hill access to Beinn Dearg, stop next door at Inverlael. If gardens are more your thing there's Leckmelm Gardens on the edge of Loch Broom and the National Trust for Scotland's magnificent Inverewe Garden and Estate on the way to Gairloch.
Going south? Don't miss the spectacular waterfalls and trails at nearby Corrieshallach Gorge, a National Nature Reserve in the care of the National Trust for Scotland.

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For questions and complaints, please contact us directly.