14.70 ha (36.32 acres)

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Map reference:

Explorer 418
OS Landranger 36

Glencharnoch Wood forms part of a much larger wood and is one of a major concentration of ancient woodlands within the catchments of the rivers Spey and Dulnain. Despite its small size, the wood is big on biodiversity value and is home to a number of UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species, including red squirrel and crested tit.


  • Parking nearby
  • Public access
  • Waymarked walk
  • Coniferous woodland

How to get to Glencharnoch Wood

Glencharnoch Wood is relatively small, covering an area of only 14.7 hectares (32.3 acres).

The wood is situated on the western outskirts of the village of Carrbridge, between the village, the Highland Mainline Railway, and Landmark Forest Adventure Park.

Carrbridge lies within the Cairngorms National Park; it is six miles north of Aviemore, and 25 miles south of Inverness.

Immediately to the south of the picturesque Pack Horse Bridge in the centre of the village that spans the River Dulnain, turn upstream following the road for 500m. Take the first turn to the left signposted ‘Glencharnoch and Ellan Wood walks’. The car park is 200m along a fairly bumpy track.

Carrbridge train station is adjacent to the wood. Some, but not all, trains on the main railway line between Inverness and Edinburgh/London stop at Carrbridge. The station is un-manned and has limited facilities.

From the train station, follow the road into the village for 500m and the entrance to the wood is signposted on the right hand side of the road at the end of the row of houses.

For information on train services visit

Bus services operate between Carrbridge, Aviemore and Inverness. Buses stop at the main public car park in the village centre. From here it is a short walk of 250m to the entrance to the wood.

For information on bus services visit

Facilities and access

The main entrance is via the car park off Station Road. At the rear of the car park is a well surfaced, gently sloping path of around 150 metres which leads into the wood.

There are three waymarked trails either on or adjacent to the wood which link with additional entrances off Station Road and the main road through the village. These can also link up with wider path networks and routes within the village. There are two other entrances off Station Road and another from the track behind the Community Hall to the Railway Wood Walk.

Paths within the woodland are generally wide, firm and well drained, but are uneven in places. The routes are generally gently sloping with short moderate slopes. There is one set of steps within the woodland, a small bridge and a boardwalk which may limit access for some users.

There is a car park within Ellan Wood (owned by Highland Council) which can fit up to 15 cars. This is accessed via Station Road.

There is also a community car park in the centre of Carrbridge which is a five minute walk from the edge of the wood.

Fully accessible public toilets are available in the public car park in the centre of Carrbridge, just across the road from the woods. Accessible toilets are also available for visitors to the Landmark Forest Adventure Park at the south east corner of the woods.

Wildlife and habitats


Despite its small size, Glencharnoch Wood punches well above its weight for biodiversity value and is home to a number of UK BAP species. Listen for the 'churr churr' of the crested tit, a pinewood rarity which is fairly common here. Other birds of note include common, parrot and Scottish crossbills, tree pipit and redstart. Look out too for the bushy red tail of the red squirrel as it scampers up trees.

The wood is also of particular importance for its high density of Scottish wood ant (Formica aquilonia) and hairy wood ant (Formica lugubris) nests. Look out for the large piles of pine needles which form the nests of these small, nippy insects.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

The woodland is an impressive mini mosaic of a range of habitats typical of the Strathspey pinewoods that have developed in the last 7,000 years following the last ice age. Scots pine and birch largely dominate the canopy today. Aspen would once have been far more common but is now a rarer tree species in the wood due to heavy browsing over the last 200 years or so.

Glencharnoch also supports some important flowering plants. Chickweed wintergreen (Trientalis europaea) and creeping lady's-tresses (Goodyera repens), a beautiful and threatened wild orchid, are both readily found here. These species are key indicators of an ancient pinewood and provide evidence for the long period of time that healthy woodland has been present.

Look out too for bell heather, ling heather and cross-leaved heath, as well as cowberry and blaeberry (bilberry).

Look out for:


From pine woodland on glacial moraines (the rocks and soil left behind by ancient glaciers as they moved) to swampy grass, the wood has a huge range of habitats in miniature form.

The site has been shaped by glaciation, with Scots pine growing on the dry moraines, birch on the slightly damper soils in the hollows, and alder and willow in the peaty hollows that have gradually built up over the last few centuries.


About Glencharnoch Wood

Management history

The core area of the woodland is made up of mature, similarly-aged Scots pine, with a small group of Norway spruce at the western fringe. This area was left intact during the much wider felling that took place here during the Second World War, although was heavily thinned in the 1980s prior to the sale to Woodland Trust Scotland in 1989.

An area of pole-stage plantation Scots pine was planted here in 1985, and part of the wood is an area that was clear-felled in 1998 and where Scots pine and birch are being allowed to regenerate.

Things to do

Nearby attractions

The nearby Landmark Forest Adventure Park is a fantastic day out for the family that can be finished off with a quiet walk through the Glencharnoch Wood. Find out more at


There are four waymarked trails for visitors to explore throughout the wood and beyond. Download our map of the routes below, or look out for the large orientation board in the wood.

Waymarked trails

Ellan Wood Walk (yellow route)

Description: Follow a route that changes with the seasons. Wander through the pine woodland and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the forest.

Paths: Firm, uneven paths with muddy sections, occasional tree roots and short slopes. One set of steps and two bridges.

Grade: Moderate. ¾ mile / 1km. 30 mins.

Glencharnoch Walk (green route)

Description: This pleasant wander round the pines can be enjoyed all the more from the bench on the knoll. Keep an eye out for the attractive wooden carved sculptures dotted around.

Paths: Mostly flat with short moderate slopes on firm gravel paths.

Grade: Moderate. ½ mile / ¾km. 30 mins.

Railway Wood Walk (red route)

Description: An easy, circular route through the pine forest, partly beside the Highland Mainline Railway.

Paths: Mostly wide, flat, earthy paths with some uneven and muddy sections.

Grade: Easy. 1 mile / 1.6km. 30 mins.

Carr Plantation Trail (purple route)

Description: A relatively long, circular route through mature forest and past interesting historical features.

Paths: Mostly flat, wide, earthy paths with some uneven and muddy sections and occasional short slopes. One road crossing.

Grade: Moderate. 2 ¾ miles / 4.25km. 2 to 2.5 hours.


Glencharnoch Wood Management Plan

PDF  (117 KB)