Visit Knapdale

A trip to the Scottish Beaver Trial in Knapdale Forest provides a fun family day out. Be a beaver detective and spot the signs of beaver activity in one of the most stunning parts of Scotland.

Visitors Walking Trail Dubh Loch

Exploring the Trial site

Begin your trip at the Barnluasgan car park and discover more about beavers and their return to Scotland at the Barnluasgan Information Centre. Then try the Beaver Detective Trail, a two hour (three mile) circular walk which follows the natural terrain around the Dubh Loch and Loch Collie Bharr.

The attractive path, with moderate gradients, features mostly good gravel surfaces but may be wet and muddy in some places. A short section follows a public road. Hiking boots advised as well as midge repellent! Check out our Virtual Guided Tour of the site for top spotting tips.

Knawed tree_spotting the beaver signs

Spotting the beaver signs

The beaver family resident on the Dubh Loch have been the most visible in demonstrating their construction skills. Follow the Beaver Detective Trial from the Barnluasgan Information Centre for around 20 minutes to get there.

Look out for felled and regenerating trees, stripped branches (some with teeth marks!) and beaver canals. Also get a close-up of a real beaver dam by walking across the amazing floating pontoon on Loch Coille-Bharr. Click here to download a copy of our visitor’s guide.

Spotting the beaver signs

Beaver watching

Lucky (and patient!) visitors have spotted the beavers swimming and feeding on the loch. Beaver are most active at night, so why not make your visit at dusk or dawn?

Beavers are shy creatures: remember to be quiet and patient while looking out for ripples in the loch and listening for splashing water and gnawing sounds. Please do not disturb beavers, their lodges or dams.

Have you been one of our lucky visitors? Click here to email us about your beaver spot.

Click here to read all about the latest beaver sightings and activity on our blog.

Click here to download fun, family activities to enjoy during your visit.

Getting to Knapdale

Knapdale Forest is located 7 miles to the west of Lochgilphead, in the Heart of Argyll. It is accessible by car, bicycle or public transport. Click here for directions to the Trial site.

Project partners

The Royal Zoological Society of ScotlandScottish Wildlife Trust
Forestry Commission Scotland

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    Comments of support

    "This is a truly unique and groundbreaking project and Biffaward is delighted to be the major funding partner." - Gillian French, Biffaward's Programme Manager

    With thanks to

    Beaver Trial Supporters
    People's Postcode Lottery

    See our other supporters

    The Royal Zoological Society of ScotlandScottish Wildlife Trust


    Beavers are back in Scotland!

    On 24 November 2016, the Scottish Government made the landmark announcement that beavers are to remain in Scotland. This is the first time that a mammal has been formally reintroduced in UK history.

    The trial population of beavers remains in Knapdale, and the Scottish Beaver partners are now focussing their efforts on re-enforcing this population to ensure its long term future.

    Boosting the Knapdale beaver population

    For updates on the beaver re-enforcement project, please visit the website of the Scottish Wildlife Trust or the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland by clicking on the adjacent logos.

    The Scottish Beaver Trial website

    Now that the Trial has ended, this website will no longer be updated. However, if you would like to browse our historical records on the website, please click the button to continue.

    Scottish Beaver Trial RZSS Scottish Wildlife Trust