Ariundle Oakwood NNR - About the reserve

Ariundle Oakwood is a precious remnant of woodland – a magical habitat for rare plants, birds and insects. 



Managing habitats and inspiring people

Ariundle Oakwood NNR is on the west coast of Scotland in the Sunart area of Lochaber. It is an ancient, native broadleaved woodland, part of Scotland's rainforest, which clings to south-east facing slopes on the northern side of Strontian Glen.

Ariundle Oakwood is associated with similar woodlands surrounding Loch Sunart. Altogether, they make up the largest continuous area of this type of oak woodland in Britain. This habitat type needs special protection because it is so rare in Europe.

The reserve is managed by NatureScot. We work with our partners Forestry Commission Scotland on many aspects of management.

Woodland habitats

Our priority is to keep the woodland in good condition. For us, that means that oak trees are dominant, and there is a range of other species. Most of the oak trees are ‘sessile’ oaks. We remove any non-native trees that seed in the forest.

By managing deer numbers to achieve a sustainable level, we encourage the trees to regenerate but still maintain open areas. This creates mixed age woodland with open glades.

Along with the wet climate of the west coast, this benefits the ferns, lichens, and mosses and liverworts and that thrive here. We maintain open areas where light reaches the forest floor, which creates ideal places for wildflowers. In turn, these allow invertebrates to flourish.

Temperate Oak (Sessile petraea) woodland at Ariundle NNR, West Highland Area. ©Lorne Gill/SNH.

Engaging people with nature

We want visiting Ariundle reserve to be a memorable experience for everyone. We manage a small network of trails giving access to the heart of the oakwood and along the river. This allows visitors to experience these remarkable woodlands and enjoy a walk in nature.

The reserve car park is provided by Forestry and Land Scotland.

Management planning

We plan our management carefully to make sure that the special qualities of the reserve thrive. In this way it will always give visitors an enjoyable experience and engage people with nature.

We produce 10-year management plans for our reserves. Find out more about how we manage Ariundle Oakwood NNR:

Protected areas

Ariundle Oakwood NNR overlaps with several protected areas, including:

Find out more about these protected areas and their designated features by searching the map:

Find out more

Learn more about Scotland’s National Nature Reserves.

Discover how protected areas safeguard our natural heritage.