Rahoy Hills Nature Reserve

|Rahoy Hills Nature Reserve
Rahoy Hills Nature Reserve2020-02-10T15:07:12+00:00

Rahoy Hills Nature Reserve

Rahoy Hills Nature Reserve extends onto Ardtornish Estate and is run by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, which claims it as their most biodiverse reserve in Scotland.

This is due to the reserves variety of habitats, including high mountain, uplands moors and lochans, atlantic oak woods and rich river gorges, and these rich habitats support a great variety of wildlife.

The mountains are often referred to as being upside down hills, as their soils are richer high up than lower down, this is due to the hills nutrient rich basalt rocks. These soils support important communities of rare arctic alpine plants.

The reserves mixed habitats provides homes for a matching variety of flora and fauna, including woodland bird species such as redstart and wood warbler, 20 species of butterfly including chequered skipper, pearl-bordered fritillary and large heath, and 13 species of dragonfly and damselfly, including Northern emerald, keeled skimmers and beautiful demoiselle.

Stephen Hardy – Reserve ranger

My role as reserve ranger is diverse and often dictated by the seasons and ever changing west coast weather. My work includes conducting species surveys, invasive plant removal, path maintenance and monitoring the wildlife.

I enjoy meeting people who share a passion for wildlife and conservation and who want to learn more about this unique environment.

Exploring the Reserve

Contact the reserve ranger tel:07979 491323 to discuss guided walk opportunities or to join him in his day to day duties.

Much of the reserve is wild and pathless and therefore the walking routes are challenging and will require a good level of fitness. Easier walks can be arranged but this is dependant upon the rangers work commitments.

Top 5 Walks

Loch Teacuis Northside Walk

An easy walk along a private road on the North side of Loch Teacuis with an optional foray further along the side of the loch. The private road meanders through farmland, along the northern shore of Loch Teacuis and through Atlantic oak woodland to Rahoy House. Good opportunities to look out for otters on the shoreline of this sea loch as well a variety of coastal birds. In May and June the woodlands are carpeted with bluebells and the road side verges are resplendent with spring flowers.

  • Grade – Easy
  • Distance – 5 Miles
  • Starting Grid Ref: NM656541
Aoineadh Mor

An interesting circular walk to explore the deserted township of Aoineadh Mor (pronounced Inniemore).  There are three walks (Mary’s Path, James’s path and the Township Path) that can be combined into a circular trail.   James and Mary’s path pass mainly through mixed pine plantations of spruce, pine and firs, and the historic loop passes through rough pasture and heathland.  However, there is also a nice section through Atlantic oak woodland with an understorey of mainly heather and bilberry (Calluna vulgaris, Vaccinium spp and Erica spp) and deer fern (Blechnum spicant), with an abundance of mosses and lichens.  James’s path has some steep sections, but the other two trials are fairly easy going.

  • Grade – Moderate
  • Distance – 2.1 Miles
  • Starting Grid Ref: NM668517
Kinlochaline Low Road

This is a lovely walk along a tarmac track by the shores of Loch Aline through coastal deciduous woodland, affording some lovely views of the loch, surrounding hills and Ardtornish House. The former Kinlochaline Castle is also nearby, but now in private hands at the head of Loch Aline. The tower house, perched on a rocky outcrop at the head of Loch Aline, was originally built in 15th century as a stronghold for Clan MacInnes. Look out for a range of woodland birds and otters, waders and diving and dabbling ducks along the coast and open waters.

  • Grade – Easy
  • Distance – 4.6 Miles
  • Starting Grid Ref: NM680446
Rayhoy Hills & Loch Arienas

A walk through oak woodland and heathland along the shores of Loch Arienas to the deserted village of Arienas in the Scottish Wildlife Trust Rahoy Hills Reserve. The Rahoy Hill Reserve is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Look out for golden eagle, buzzard, golden plover, greenshank and red deer in the hills. Listen out for tree pipit, redstart, redpoll, wood warbler and greater spotted woodpecker in the woodlands and heron, sandpiper and oyster catcher along the shoreline, as well as diving and dabbling ducks, red-throated and black-throated divers and cormorants on the open water. Seek out for the tracks and signs of pine marten, wildcat, fox and otter on route. The deserted settlement of Arienas consists of the remains of former houses and barns. The village was abandoned in the 19th century.

  • Grade – Moderate
  • Distance – 2.8 Miles
  • Starting Grid Ref: NM703504
Ardtornish Castle Walk

An easy walk along road and track to the ruins of Ardtornish Castle on The Morvern Peninsula. The walk provides a wonderful opportunity to explore a ruined castle and affords fabulous views over Loch Aline and the Sound of Mull. There are also some lovely mixed deciduous woodland on route consisting of alder, hazel, rowan, sycamore, ash willow, oak, birch and wych elm. The walk provides a good opportunity to spot pipits, skylarks, wheatears, corvids, raptors, as well as a range of coastal birds, and, if you are lucky, white-tailed eagle and otter.

  • Grade – Easy
  • Distance – 8.4 Miles
  • Starting Grid Ref: NM702474

For full details on these great walks and many more please click HERE

Explore widely, take memories and leave nothing but footprints.

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