Size:

239.31 ha (591.34 acres)

Grid reference:

NS429773

Map reference:

Explorer 347

OS Landranger 64

This mix of ancient woodland, sheltered glens, jagged outcrops, newer plantations and rugged moorland lies at the foot of the spectacular Kilpatrick Hills. Our closest site to Scotland’s largest city Glasgow, it offers superb hiking, fascinating flora, an abundance of wildlife and stunning views of the Clyde, Dumbarton Rock and Ben Lomond.

Features

  • Parking at site
  • Parking nearby
  • Public access
  • Autumn colour
  • Waymarked walk
  • Broadleaved woodland

How to get to Lang Craigs

The 250-hectare (620-acre) Lang Craigs site lies in the lower reaches of the Kilpatrick Hills, around 3.2km (2 miles) east of Dumbarton town centre and 19km (12 miles) from Glasgow.

It occupies the glens of the Overtoun Burn and Garshake Burn, including the high plateau between them, and adjoins Overtoun Estate managed by West Dunbartonshire Council.

From Glasgow, head towards Dumbarton, continuing on the A82 past the Erskine Bridge (A898) junction. Stay on the A82 after the next roundabout and after 1km (0.5 miles) turn right at Milton up a minor road (Milton Brae) just past the Stonefield pub and opposite the car showroom. On Milton Brae, continue for 2km (just over a mile) to reach the Overtoun Estate car park.

From Balloch, continue on the A82 until you pass the A814 junction and 750 metres (0.5 miles) further on, turn left into the partly concealed Milton Brae, immediately past the bend in the main road and opposite the car showroom. On Milton Brae, continue for 2km (1.2 miles) to reach the Overtoun Estate car park.

The nearest train station is Dumbarton East which is 3.6km (2.2 miles) away from the site.

Visit National Rail for more information.

There are bus stops on Garshake Road and Stirling Road, around 1.75km (1 mile) from the wood entrance and serviced by buses from Glasgow and Balloch.

Visit Traveline for more information.

Facilities and access

Access to Lang Craigs is through Overtoun Estate managed by West Dunbartonshire Council WDC. We work in partnership together to provide car parking and path routes throughout the two estates.

The main access point is from the Overtoun Estate car park, from where an estate track leads through a metal fence to reach Lang Craigs after 450 metres (0.3 miles).

The site has some steep sections and can be muddy in places. However, a network of surfaced paths suitable for pushchairs criss-cross the lower part of Overtoun Estate and Lang Craigs. Be aware that Overtoun Glen has some very steep sections and stairs, unsuitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

There is also access from Garshake Road in the far west of the site, where there is a path to the Starfish bunker and moorland beyond. There is no path linking this to the Overtoun path network on the east side of the site.

There is free parking available at Overtoun Estate, with 42 spaces.

There are no on-site toilets available, although the café at Overtoun House has toilets for customers. The nearest public toilets are in Dumbarton.

Wildlife and habitats

Animals

Otters have been spotted in nearby lochs and sometimes use the Overtoun and Garshake burns. If you’re lucky you may spot some of the other mammals on site, including brown hare, fox and field vole.

Over 70 species of bird have been identified at Lang Craigs including the peregrine falcon, sparrowhawk, buzzard and kestrel, as well as rare birds such as black grouse, cuckoo and snipe.

The invertebrates at Lang Craigs are just as varied. Look out for the hairy caterpillars of the ruby tiger moth and emperor moth, as well as the burying beetle and forest shield bug.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

There are around 200 hectares (494 acres) of woodland, and scattered trees on the site, some of which were planted in the 19th century as part of the development of the Overtoun Estate. These areas of ancient semi-natural woodland have been added to with the planting of almost a quarter of a million trees in the development of new native woodland.

Look out for mature Scots pine and sycamore, which may have been planted as part of the Overtoun Estate landscape design, and enjoy the areas of new, maturing woodland which is buffering and extending the older woodland.

Keep an eye out for some weird and wonderful fungi while you’re exploring the site. You might come across the bright yellow physarum slime mould or jelly ear fungus.

Look out for:

Habitats

Lang Craigs is home to 600 acres of sheltered glen, rolling hills and rugged moorland which provide varied and vibrant habitats for flora and fauna.

Explore:

We bought most of the site in 2011 and the rest in 2016. Since then, we have carefully planted 230,000 native trees. We're now working in partnership with the Forestry Commission Scotland to manage Lang Craigs and the surrounding Kilpatrick Hills.

History of Lang Craigs

The Lang Craigs themselves were formed from volcanic lava 360 million years ago and cut away by the glaciers of the ice ages. Important fossils have been found near the site and it’s possible that there are also fossils to be found at Lang Craigs.

The site also holds evidence of prehistoric human inhabitants including early enclosures and a carved stone.

In more modern history, the site was part of the Overtoun estate.

On the site there is Second World War bunker which was part of a decoy network to prevent enemy aircraft bombing the local towns. In 2011, local schoolchildren planted 17 trees to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the blitz and the 17 people killed in Dumbarton, as well as the part played by the Starfish bunker in preventing a greater number of deaths.

Dedication bench at Watkins Wood

Dedicate at this wood

This wood is one of more than 50 across the UK where it's possible to dedicate trees, benches or larger areas of woodland. Mark a special occasion or celebrate the life of a loved one with a meaningful gesture that lasts. 

Choose a dedication

Things to do at Lang Craigs

Walking

On-site information boards at the car park feature four waymarked walks offering varying degrees of challenge, from the picturesque wooded glen to a high route with great views. The longest is a 3.5km (2.2-mile) circular route from the car park to the viewpoint of Round Wood Hill. A path also leads up through Overtoun Glen to the Black Linn Reservoir and the Kilpatrick Hills beyond, on a network of paths and tracks managed by Forestry Commission Scotland.

Download the site leaflet.

Early purple orchids

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