Woodlands, wildlife and waves: why Oban and Lorn will capture your heart!

Atlantic islands, picturesque peninsulas and miles of glorious coastline: Lorn is a nature lover’s paradise. Explore the fantastic forests, discover the wonderful wildlife and be mesmerised by the sights of the sea. Before you know it, you’ll have fallen in love with Oban and Lorn.

Fantastic forests and wonderful woodlands
Take your pick from a host of woody wonderlands. Ballachuan Hazelwood on Seil Island is a rich habitat for butterflies and supports an incredible selection of lichen, mosses and fungi. Keep your eyes peeled for otters! Fearnoch is a lovely, quiet woodland near Taynuilt. With way-marked routes, it’s perfect for a stroll, cycle or horse-ride. Enjoy the dramatic views to Ben Cruachan and keep an eye out for red squirrels. Glasdrum Wood near Creagan Bridge is a wonderful, ancient woodland, dominated by ash and oak. See if you can spot the rare chequered skipper butterfly. Another great place for butterflies is Shian Wood on the shores of Loch Creran. For a fine example of Atlantic oakwood, head to Glen Nant near Taynuilt, where there are a couple of really good trails. You’ll find some lovely woodland walks around around Loch Etive. The islands of Lismore and Kerrera are also great places to explore on foot.

Gorgeous gardens
With its mild climate, warmed by the Gulf Stream, Oban and Lorn provides the perfect growing conditions for a riot of native and exotic plants. You’ll find some glorious gardens as you explore the area, many in stunning coastal locations. Top of your list should be Ardchattan, which sits on the shores of Loch Etive near Oban. It’s a tranquil place, with herbaceous borders, roses, a rockery, ornamental trees and a wild flower garden. The views over Loch Etive, towards Mull in the west and Ben Cruachan to the east, are enchanting. Kinlochlaich in Appin is another gardeners’ delight. The octagonal walled garden is home to an incredible display of plants. Don’t miss the bluebell walk in spring. Ardmaddy Garden near Oban is another spectacular setting. The garden is shielded to the north by mature woodlands and protected from the Atlantic winds by the elevated castle.

Sights of the sea
The sea is part and parcel of life in Oban and Lorn and there are endless opportunities to take to the water and get up close and personal with some sea creatures. If you’re looking for a challenge, why not do the first section of the Argyll Sea Kayak Trail, which starts at Ganavan Sands, near Oban? Follow the coastline south, looking out for otters along the way. Or how about swimming with sharks? Oban-based Basking Shark Scotland offers basking shark trips and snorkel safaris to the Inner Hebrides. There are several companies offering marine wildlife trips in Oban and Lorn. Head out on a fast-RIB or chartered boat to discover porpoises, seals, eagles and more. 

If all this exploring leaves you feeling peckish, you’ll be pleased to hear that Oban and Lorn is packed with great places to eat and drink. Oban is known as ‘Scotland’s Seafood Capital’ and is the place to sample fresh local seafood. Oban is a busy ferry port too, with regular ferries to and from the islands of Mull, Colonsay, Coll, Tiree and Lismore. Why not combine your visit with an island-hopping adventure?

Find out more about things to do and see in Oban and Lorn.