A tale of two bridges, a wild river and lots of cattle

Little Garve

Find tranquility at Little Garve

Wander through the gentle woodland beside the swirling Black Water river and remember that this peaceful place once pulsed with the sounds of cattle and soldiers. One of the two arched stone bridges on the circular trail was built by the army, and drovers (cattle herders) later rested thousands of animals here on the long walk to southern markets. Today only birdsong and river music break the peace.

Our map guide to the Forests of Ross and Cromarty (PDF 5.8MB) will help you explore Little Garve as well as more wonderful woodlands.

Parking Picnic area Walking

Life's essentials

You can park and picnic at both ends of this circular trail, in Little Garve and in Silverbridge. There are public toilets at nearby Garve village hall and also at Rogie Falls (summer only).

You'll find other toilets, shops and places to eat in Strathpeffer and Dingwall.

Walking trails

Cycling trails

Mountain biking trails

Droves of soldiers and cattle

The fine humpbacked bridge at Little Garve was part of a swathe of military road and bridge building in the Highlands after the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. Although it's known as 'Wade's Bridge' it was probably built in the 1760s by his successor, Major William Caulfeild, to enable government troops to travel more easily to the west coast. It was a useful crossing point for local people and their vehicles until the 1980s, when it became a footbridge again.

Beside the river at Little Garve drovers rested their herds of cattle and gave them iron shoes, like horses, for the hard roads further south. The nearest fair was in Muir of Ord but most of the animals would be expected to walk to cattle markets (trysts) many miles away in Crieff, Falkirk and beyond.

The woodland here is mixed, open and richly diverse. Bees hum over spring wildflowers and berries bloom in late summer. Watch for otters beside the river as you walk and brown trout rising for flies in the calmer pools. The river is always in a hurry here, crashing over small waterfalls and carving out wonderful rock formations, but sometimes it can be exceptionally wild as the snows melt on the high slopes of Ben Wyvis.

Contact: North Highland Forest District

Address: The Links, Golspie Business Park, Golspie

Postcode: KW10 6UB

Telephone: 0300 067 6850


How to get here

From Inverness, follow the A9 north to the Tore roundabout. Take the second exit onto the A835 (for Ullapool) and stay on this road for about 18 miles (28.8 km). About 2 miles (3.2 km) after Garve you'll see forest signs to Little Garve on your right. Turn here and follow the minor road to the car park at grid reference NH 395 629.

To start from Silverbridge, continue on the A835 for another mile. The car park is on your left at grid reference NH 404 640.

Using SatNav?

IV23 2PU is the nearest postcode for Little Garve.

Public transport

There are train and bus services from Inverness to Garve, just under 2 miles (3.2 km) from the car park. See Traveline Scotland for details.

Nearby places

There's lots to see in and do in this small area of Ross-shire. Visit the sensational Rogie Falls and explore the forest trails in Contin and Blackmuir Wood. For lazy summer weekends by the water there are secluded picnic sites at Loch Achilty and Grudie.

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