35.00 ha (86.49 acres)

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Explorer 358
OS Landranger 55

With sweeping vistas across Loch Crinan to Duntrune Castle and the Argyll coastline, there are few woods with a more breathtaking outlook than Crinan Wood.

This ancient Atlantic oakwood experiences a wet and mild climate and drips with ferns, mosses, fungi and lichen. It is a wonderful example of Scotland’s rare and special rainforest. The wood is also brimming with wildlife, including the iconic red squirrel. Crinan Wood is definitely one of our must-see gems.


  • Parking nearby
  • Public access
  • Autumn colour
  • Spring flowers
  • Waymarked walk
  • Broadleaved woodland

How to get to Crinan Wood

Crinan Wood is around 40km (25 miles) south of Oban in Argyll. The 35-hectare (86.5-acre) wood lies at the western edge of the Crinan Canal and at the northern edge of the Knapdale National Scenic Area, with its characteristic ridged landscape.

From Oban, follow the A816 towards Lochgilphead for around 48km (30 miles). Turn right onto the B8025 and continue for 6.5km (4 miles), then turn right again onto the B841. Follow the road around Crinan Canal to the village of Crinan. The wood is close to the boat yard and canal basin.

The nearest train station is Oban, which is around 56km (35 miles) from the wood.

Visit National Rail for more information.

The nearest bus stop is situated at the canal basin, with services running to Lochgilphead and Achnamara.

Visit Traveline Scotland for more information.

Facilities and access

There are several access points into the wood.

The main entrance is from the canal basin, with the main path forming a 2.5km (1.5 miles) loop from the village. The path has a soft surface, which can become wet and muddy. There are also steep sections and steps.

Another point of access is from the canal towpath to the east of the wood, next to a swing bridge off the B841 Cairnbaan-Crinan road (1km/0.6 miles south of the village). The towpath (which continues to Lochgilphead, 10km/6.2 miles to the south) is suitable for all abilities, although it has steep drops from the banks.

The wood can also be accessed from a track at Kilmahumaig on the B841, shortly before Crinan village, via an all-ability, surfaced track.

Download a walking map of Crinan Wood.

There is a car park next to the canal basin in Crinan village centre, close to the wood and limited parking for up to four cars in the British Waterways parking bay, at the swing bridge off the B841.

The nearest toilets are on the quay in the village of Crinan, at the end of the canal.

The nearest disabled access toilet is approximately 11.4km (7 miles) away on Lochnell Street in Lochgilphead, and is accessed with a RADAR key.

Wildlife and habitats


Crinan Wood is teeming with wildlife and a visit to the woods and the wider area gives you a chance to see three of Scotland’s ‘Big Five’ iconic wild animals, including red squirrel, otter, red deer and harbour seal. Look out too for bats and pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

The warm and wet weather brought by the Gulf Stream has created Scotland’s very own rainforest, a rare habitat where trees are cloaked in colourful lichens and bryophytes (mosses and liverworts). The wood also has a number of interesting phoenix trees - trees which have fallen and then regrown - creating fascinating shapes. To the south of the site there is some more recent planting dating from the 19th century, mainly of beech and sycamore.

Look out for:


A rich mixture of ancient Atlantic oakwood, open glades, heathland and wet woodland make up the diverse habitats of Crinan Wood. Admire the gnarled veteran trees, the heathlands strewn with swathes of heather, bluebell and foxglove and the ethereal areas of wet woodland.


Inside Britain's rainforests


Take a glimpse into Britain's beautiful and fragile temperate rainforests and discover more about the rare and globally important species that live there.

Watch the film

About us

Saving Scotland's rainforest

We're working to ensure Scotland’s rainforests thrive once again. As part of the Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforest, we're on a mission to protect and enhance this globally important habitat for the special wildlife that depends upon it.

Discover how we're making a difference

The Forestry Commission purchased the site in 1930, and we acquired it in 1988. Since then, natural regeneration and planting have gradually increased the woodland cover. Many non-native trees have been removed.

About Crinan Wood


Crinan Wood is alive with history. The wood contains the remains of two forts or ‘duns’ dating from the Iron Age, and has views of the 12th-century Duntrune Castle on the other side of Loch Crinan. The 14.4km-long (9-mile) Crinan Canal, which opened in 1801, was built to provide a navigable trading route between the Clyde and the Inner Hebrides, and has been called ‘the most beautiful shortcut in the world’. 

In the 19th century, large quantities of timber were harvested from the wood at Crinan. They provided materials for a range of industries: charcoal for iron smelting, bark for tanning leather, and distillation of acid used in cloth printing which took place in Crinan’s ‘vinegar factory’.

Much of today’s Crinan was once known as Port Righ – the King’s Port – and it has only been known as Crinan since the canal was built. It was probably named after the Creones, a tribe believed to have lived in the area from around AD 140.

Early purple orchid with blurred background

A lasting legacy

This wood is just one of many to have been protected by gifts in wills, securing it for generations to come. Your legacy gift could also make a real difference to woods, trees and wildlife.

Learn what your gift could mean

Things to do in Crinan Wood


Crinan Wood Management Plan

PDF  (936 KB)