More about Ledmore & Migdale
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This wild and rugged landscape comprises rich and diverse habitats including dense broadleaved deciduous woodland, conifer plantations, heather moorland, marsh and rocky crags. Not only beautiful with commanding views, it is also of immense national importance for nature conservation.
This beautiful and wild landscape in the Scottish Highlands offers an enriching and magical experience to visitors looking for fantastic walks, a vast array of wildlife, tranquility, and a rich and diverse habitat to explore.
It is one of the largest sites owned by the Woodland Trust and encompasses three Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs): Ledmore Oakwood (235 acres), Migdale Pinewood (356 acres) and Spinningdale Bog (71 acres).
Habitats range from dense broadleaved deciduous woodland to conifer plantation; and open grasslands and marsh to the riparian environments of Spinningdale Burn and adjacent Dornoch Firth estuary. Breath-taking scenery and spectacular views of the surrounding landscape of hills and coast are common features of the site, but it is equally recognised for its vast national importance to nature conservation.
Designated a National Conservation Review Site and Special Area of Conservation, it is rich in biodiversity and home to a vast array of plant, insect, bird and animal life, including otter, wild cat and pine marten.
These ancient woods have a history going back thousands of years and human activity can be traced back to at least the Bronze Age, evidenced by its three chambered cairns, two of which are scheduled ancient monuments.
Events at Ledmore & Migdale
Join us for a walk, see the beauty of the wood through a lens or wrap up warm and blow away the cobwebs with friends and family.
Legmore & Migdale Woods lie around the small village of Spinningdale, on the shore of the Durnoch Firth. This is the gateway to Sutherland, once the ‘South land’ of the Norsemen, but for many of today’s travellers it is the last leg of the journey to John O’Groats, the most northerly point of Scotland.
The woods themselves stretch across three distinct and craggy hills, commanding outstanding views of the surrounding landscape of hills and coast. This is also one of the narrowest points of Scotland, and with only 30 miles as the crow flies between Spinningdale and the west coast at Ullapool, it feels as if you can see across a whole nation.
OS Explorer 441, Landranger 21, NH661904
The area offers extensive walking trails, interpretation of natural and cultural history, wildlife watching and specialist mountain biking trails, so whatever the time of year you visit, this beautiful and enchanting site provides a richly rewarding experience and a world just waiting to be discovered.
By public transport
There is no regular public transport to the woodland, but trains on the Inverness-Wick line stop at Ardgay, six miles east; and buses run to Bonar Bridge and Spinningdale.
For information on trains and also bus services, contact Traveline on 0871 200 2233, or at Traveline Scotland
Dial-a -Bus services may be available from Ardgay, (MacLeod’s Coaches, 01408 641354), and Dornoch (Mackay’s, 01862 810162). Pre-booking is required.
Coaches travel to Dornoch. For details of coach services contact National Express on 0870 580 8080.
The woods are about an hour’s drive north of Inverness on the A9 Inverness to Wick/Thurso road. From the A9, turn off at Clashmore and travel five miles west on the A949 to Spinningdale. From the village, take a right turn onto a minor road sign-posted ‘Migdale’ and travel just less than one mile up the Fairy Glen road to reach a pull-in parking area on the right which can accommodate up to seven cars.
Alternatively, if approaching from the west through Bonar Bridge, take the A949 for five miles to reach Spinningdale. From the village take the left turn sign-posted ‘Migdale’ onto the Fairy Glen road, and proceed as above.
From the parking area walk a further 160 yards up the hill to reach the main entrance. Further parking is available in a lay-by adjacent to the northern shore of Loch Migdale (reached from Bonar Bridge) with informal road-side parking also possible at entrance points around the site, although please take care not to obstruct gates or passing places.
Download the Ledmore & Migdale Woods leaflet to help you explore.