Skip Navigation

More about Abriachan Wood

Abriachan Wood is spectacular. From veteran hazels to huge scree slopes and jaw-dropping views over Loch Ness, this place has something for every visitor. The path network takes the visitor through hazel, birch and open ground, past bluebells, butterflies and birdlife and links in with the wider path network of Abriachan Forest Trust.

Abriachan Wood is a place to enjoy dramatic views over Loch Ness and experience the diversity and beauty of a Highlands woodland. The loch is Scotland’s best-known tourist destination and Abriachan Wood offers one of the most accessible locations for visitors to enjoy the Highlands scenery away from the busy loch-side road.

Set in a dramatic location in the Great Glen, Abriachan has been woodland for at least two and half centuries – and possibly far longer. During that time it was a valuable resource for local people – a source of timber and stone for building, of firewood, food and fodder for livestock.

In the 1990s local people worked with the Woodland Trust to buy the 162ha (403 acres) wood. Since then, access for local people and visitors has been enhanced and the Trust has worked to restore the woodland. Non-native conifers have been taken out and native trees such as oak and aspen have taken their place.

On the steep, rocky slopes streams flow from the moorland above, rushing through the wood between rocky crags and cliffs. It’s a wild setting that is home to a wealth of wildlife.

In spring the wood comes alive with birdsong as summer migrant species such as redstart and willow warbler arrive to join year-round residents including the crossbill. Beyond the woodland, on the higher, moorland areas, look out for black grouse and for birds of prey, including golden eagle and peregrine.

Whether you visit when primroses are in bloom, or when there’s snow on tree branches, Abriachan Wood is a magical place to explore.

Setting

Abriachan Wood occupies a three-mile (5km) stretch of the north-western shore of Loch Ness between Drumnadrochit and Inverness, close to the village of Abriachan. It has a prominent position on the steep, rocky valley side, above the loch, contributing to the iconic setting of Loch Ness within the Great Glen.

Maps: OS Explorer 416 and Landranger 26

Grid reference: NH 575357

Access and walks

The wood lies on either side of a minor road that leaves the A82 and heads uphill to the village of Abriachan. In the section of woodland that is on the south side of the Abriachan road, there is an extensive network of grassy paths, some of them steep in places. The northern section is steeper and rocky, and has no access provision.

The most convenient access to the wood is from the car parks at the Village Hall in Abriachan, at Abriachan Gardens (at the northern end of the wood’s southern section) and from the Clansman Hotel, which is at Brachla by the main A82 at the wood’s southern end. There is also an entrance track from Balcharaggan (grid ref. NH 565 342).

There are steps at the start of the path from Abriachan Gardens and a long flight of steep steps below the Balcharaggan entrance.

The network of paths in the wood’s southern section totals about 3.4km (two miles). They include an ancient Coffin Trail, once used to carry the dead on their final journey to burial. It zigzags up from the loch side to the settlements of Balchraggan and Abriachan.

A public right of way runs through the southern section of the wood from the Clansman to Balchraggan. It is used for recreation and access by local people and tourists. In addition, there is a disused cart track, which climbs up from the loch side. An informal pathway links the top of this track with the public right of way.

In the northern section, trails are steep and rocky, so walking in this part of the wood suits the more active (do wear sturdy footwear). Keen walkers can use the trails at the top of the wood to link with a wider network of Abriachan Forest Trust walks.

Clansman to Balchraggan (The old Coffin Trail)
The path follows the last route many local people took to their final resting place on an ancient right of way. The funeral cortege would have stopped to rest along the way at the spectacular viewpoints.

The path runs diagonally down the hillside. Start at the Clansman Hotel. Allow one hour, distance 2km (1.2 miles).

Abriachan Nursery to Clansman (Woodsman Trail)
The old road to Abriachan has been reopened and links with a new path to the Clansman Hotel. Follow the footsteps of woodsmen of the past through hazel woods that would have provided wood-fuel and shelter. Hazels here were cut for rods to make creels and barrels. Allow one hour, distance 2km (1.2 miles).

To the west of Abriachan Wood, is the community-owned Abriachan Forest Trust (AFT) site, with an extensive network of walking and mountain bike trails. These link to the Woodland Trust paths at the Corryfoyness track.

Directions

By bus
Bus services (Citylink 917 and 919) operate between Drumnadrochit and Inverness and pass Abriachan Wood on the main A82 road. Passengers may request a stop at the Clansman Hotel, but should note that request stops are granted at the driver’s discretion.

By train
Inverness Station is located in the city centre. It is about 22.5km (14 miles) to the north-east of Abriachan. For further information on public transport, visit traveline or call 0871 200 2233. 

By car
From Inverness, take the A82 south-west. Abriachan is about 22.5km (14 miles) from the city centre.

There are a number of access points to the wood. Parking is available at the Clansman Hotel on the A82 (courtesy use for visitors to Abriachan Woods). You can enter the woodland from the North end of the car park.

Parking for up to five cars is also available at the Abriachan Gardens (courtesy use for Woodland Trust Visitors) off the A82. A path into the wood starts from the car park.

Another option is to walk to Abriachan Wood through the adjacent Abriachan Forest Trust land. Parking is available at the Abriachan Forest Trust main entrance, east of the village near Loch Laide (grid ref. NH 540 354).

Local amenities

Public conveniences
Visitors to Abriachan Wood may use toilets at the Clansman Hotel, which are accessible to wheelchair users. Public toilets are available in the village car park in Drumnadrochit, which is 6.4km (four miles) south-west along the A82.

Refreshments
The Clansman Hotel (01456 450326) has a café, which is open every day. For a comprehensive list of restaurants, please visit TripAdvisor.

Accommodation and tourist information
The nearest hotel to Abriachan Wood is the Clansman Hotel. For details, visit the hotel’s website: Loch Ness Clansman Hotel. For information on other places to stay and things to do around Loch Ness, go to the Inverness and Loch Ness website or contact the Tourist Information Centre, Drumnadrochit (01456 459086).

Origin of name

Aber is a common place-name element of Celtic origin, meaning ‘confluence of waters’ or ‘river mouth’, which is often contracted in Anglicised forms. Here Abriachan almost certainly came from Aber Briachan. Place names using aber are common on the east coast of Scotland and are assumed to be of Pictish origin. The Gaelic name for Abriachan is Obar Itheachan, which means ‘confluence of the hill river’.

Entry into our woods is free but please donate now to help us care for them.