Knapdale Wildlife Reserve

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Place Category: Nature, Nature Reserves, Where to Go, and Nature Reserves

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  • Steep, rocky ridges – or ‘knaps’ – cloaked in woodland and separated by narrow, often flooded ‘dales’, create a landscape unique in Scotland where land juts out into the sea at Loch Sween.

    The site is owned by Forestry Commission Scotland and was home to the Scottish Beaver Trial, a partnership project that has seen the reintroduction of beavers to Scotland for the first time in more than 400 years.

    This ancient Atlantic oak woodland is Scotland’s very own rainforest, rich in plants and animals it is an important site for otters and ‘lower’ plants such as bryophytes, liverworts and mosses. Look closely at these amazing plants that cloak the trees and rocks in green.

    The best time to see beavers is at dawn and dusk, but during the day you can look out for signs of beaver activity such as gnawed tree trunks and areas of flattened vegetation leading down to the water’s edge.

    The Barnluasgan Information Centre is a useful stop to learn more about the site and how you can make the most of your visit. Car parking is at Barnluasgan or Loch Coille Bharr, from which you can explore on foot.

    If you are interested in a guided walk, please contact the Heart of Argyll Wildlife Organisation.

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