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Four autumn walks on Argyll's Secret Coast

Four autumn walks on Argyll's Secret Coast
Argyll’s Secret Coast offers fantastic autumn walking, from coastal strolls to forest forays. There’s no better time of year to explore the area on foot. With the bracken and undergrowth dying back for the winter, you’ll find you can walk through areas that are inaccessible in the height of summer. Enjoy seasonal colours, discover fascinating historical sites and spot wildlife galore as you amble along. Here are four of the best autumn walks on Argyll’s Secret Coast.

A Woodland Wander
Glenan Wood
Glenan Wood is one of the finest remaining Atlantic oak woods in the country. The unique habitat is rich in flora and fauna. Adders, red squirrels, otters, deer, pine martens, night jars, tawny owls and more all make their homes here. Rare lichens, moss, ferns and wild flowers thrive among the gnarled broadleaf trees, rocky outcrops and coastline. The woodland has a rich heritage too. Glenan Village is a deserted settlement deep in the wood with eight to nine tumbling houses made of local stone. The circular walk takes you along the shore path to Glenan Bay and you can return via a high path which affords stunning views across Loch Fyne to Kintyre. An additional path leads to Glenan Village. There’s a car parking area and grassy picnic area next to the woodland. It can be very boggy underfoot, so stout footwear is essential! There’s more detail about this walk on the Walk Highlands website. After your stroll, warm up with a hot chocolate at The Lodge at Portavadie.

Head for the heights
Barr Liath, Kilfinan Community Forest
For a satisfying hill climb and stunning elevated views, you can’t beat Barr Liath in Kilfinan Community Forest. It’s a short, but challenging, climb, and is well worth the effort for the views over the West Kyle. Before you set off up the hill, check out the heritage loop in the forest, which takes in the ‘Victorian Falls’, the remains of Tighnabruaich’s first reservoir. You’ll then walk along the Kilfinan Way, taking a right to climb Barr Liath. If you carry on along the Kilfinan Way you’ll reach Tighnabruaich’s second reservoir, which was used right up the the 1970s. It’s a really beautiful spot and home to lots of birdlife. You can join a guided walk up Barr Liath this Saturday (7th October) as part of CowalFest. There’s also a sponsored walk up Barr Liath for kids and parents on Saturday 28th October to raise month for Tighnabruaich Primary School. Email michael@kilfinancommunityforest.com for more information.

A brilliant beach walk
Ostel Bay
This crescent-shaped sweep of sand is the jewel in the crown of Argyll’s Secret Coast and a fabulous place to visit at any time of the year. Cycle in or park your car in the big lay-by at the side of the road. From here it’s a fifteen-minute walk to the beach. Climb over the dunes and the beach stretches out ahead of you with Arran on the horizon. You could spend a happy afternoon wandering along the sand, collecting shells and enjoying the views. For a longer route to Ostel Bay, you can start and finish at Millhouse.This circular route takes you along forest track, rough woodland path, fields, beach and road and takes around tree hours. If you intend to do this whole walk you must do so at low tide.

A simple stroll
Carry Point
For an autumn walk that all the family can tackle, try the circular walk at Carry Point. This is one that toddlers can happily take on! The track to the beach through Carry Farm will lead you onto a walk around the point with views out towards the island of Inchmarnock and Arran. You can choose to walk along the shore where there are a couple of gates giving access to the fields and the circular route back to the farm, or stay on the track through the fields to meet Barney the donkey and the flock of Hebridean sheep. Keep your eyes peeled for otters and if you’re lucky you might even spot a basking shark. These gentle giants are on their southern migration at this time of the year.

Read our walking guides on Argyll’s Secret Coast.
Barr LiathOstelBarney
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