• Education

    Using the woodlands as an outdoor classroom

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  • Conservation

    Protecting the biodiversity of the woodlands

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  • Recreation

    Open access for both locals and visitors

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The Cormonachan Woodlands, situated on the west shore of Loch Goil half way between Lochgoilhead and Carrick Castle and is in the Argyll Forest Park and the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park.

Welcome to Cormonachan Woodlands

The Cormonachan Woodlands are 58.9 ha of ancient Atlantic oak & hazel woodlands and have the status of being Ancient Semi Natural Woodlands (ASNW) being preserved for Education, Conservation and Recreation, with oaks of 300 years old or more and with areas of old coppiced hazel probably from around 100 years ago. 

A Funding Appeal

”Upper Cormonachan Paths Project Fund”

For the Conservation of Upper Cormonachan, the old village and access to view the beautiful Cormonachan Waterfalls with 2 km of new access paths with four viewpoints from the Contemplation Shelter by the existing 2.5 km of paths and joining up with the forest road to the west of the woodlands and a new car park by Cormonachan Burn road bridge to commence from 2019 onwards.

The cost of this project is £323,484 (£269,570 + VAT) and close to 100% grant funding should be available.  The Cormonachan Woodlands Association launched the “Upper Cormonachan Paths Project Fund” on 8th January 2019 where we would like to raise over £13,500 that is a local contribution to the project costs. We have now received £12,661 in local donations to the fund which is very encouraging (31/10/2019). Donations will be very welcome – click on the fund titles above or on the Donations button below to make a donation! Now that planning permission for the project has been received on 11th July 2019, we are applying for the major funding. We have so far had to pay out of the fund for planning fees, a Protected Species Survey and will have to pay £4,165.20 for an Archaeology Survey and £1,260 for an Interpretation Panel with the archaeology and history of the Upper Cormonachan Township (old village) that funding has now been agreed. These additional costs amount to £6,606.20 for which grants and donations will cover separately. The total project cost is £330,090.20. The plan is to commence felling the trees along the paths route and have the archaeology survey started in the autumn of 2019 and completed in the spring of 2020. The major paths work is planned to commence in August or September 2020 that will take 16 weeks to complete once we have raised the major funding over this coming year.

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Much of the area of Cormonachan Woodlands had been under planted with Sitka Spruce by Forest Enterprise in the past.  Many of those areas were felled in the late nineties and later in 2006 and will continue to be in the future. New planting of oaks, rowan, hazel and Scots pine has taken place.

Rhododendron ponticum and bracken (invasive species) have increased in quantity especially in the northern felled section of the woodlands, however a programme of clearance is reducing much of this now with much still to be done.

Bluebells abound throughout the woodlands along with other woodland plants including; primroses, wild garlic, wood sorrel, lesser celandine, honeysuckle and ferns.

The most important wildlife to reside in these woodlands are red squirrels and pine martens that are high on the agenda for protection.

This is a joint community woodlands project started in 1998, with co-operation between Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre (then owned by Fife Council), Lochgoil Community Development Trust, Lochgoil Primary School and Forestry Enterprise Scotland (The Scottish Ministers), who owned the original 20 hectare section of the Atlantic Oak Woodlands at that time.  Formal agreement was originally reached in May 2006 for the partnership to be responsible for managing the woodlands to improve their bio-diversity and also to develop them as an education resource.

A new agreement between Cormonachan Woodlands Association founded in 2015, AOEC Trust Ltd. (Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre, now a social enterprise trust) and Forestry & Land Scotland (formally called Forest Enterprise Scotland) was signed in December 2016 for an initial ten year period to 31st December 2026. The new management area of the woodlands has now been extended to 50 hectares plus a PAWS area of 8.9 ha; a distance of 1.5 miles from Cormonachan Burn to Clach Bhadach by Lochwood on the west side of the road. See the Location page.

Over the last decade the woodlands area has been transformed with 2.5 km of long walking paths established for recreation with view points over Loch Goil, a red squirrel trail was provided with information points, a resource centre was also built for educational purposes and many volunteers have cleared much of the area of old tree debris, Sitka spruce and rhododendrons.

Since 2018, there is now a Red Squirrel Hide and Contemplation Shelter alongside the Squirrel Trail that are open all year round.

Visitors who wish to visit the Cormonachan Woodlands can now park their cars in the enlarged car park by the television aerial compound – see Latest News.

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