Getting to Bute Community Forest
Bute Forest is located on the north end of the Isle of Bute. The community owned land merges with that owned by other parties and the paths, trails and interesting sites run throughout.
The Oak Woodland entrance can be accessed by parking at the ferry terminal carpark and walking north through to the gate. Here you'll see a more detailed map of Balnakailly loop. You can then continue through the field following the dirt track road around the coast until you see a signpost and a gate into the oak woodland.
The Rhubodach entrance to the community forest enters the plantation section. This is part of the Balnakailly loop and can be reached by heading up the forest access track next to Rhubodach Cottage on the A886 shortly before the ferry terminal. You can drive um this track off of the main road to reach a to a small parking area at the gate. This track is used for harvesting the timber and leads to our work area before extending across the forest. The track can be used for cycling or walking and there is usually little traffic along it.
The Moss Wood entrance is where you can access our area of native birch woodland as well as our Community Shelter. If you're travelling from Rothesay you will come across this before the other entrances. It is currently marked with a sign saying moss wood and there is some car parking on your left here. There is also more parking available of the shore road parallel to here and a path to access the woodland. If you're using a satnav this area is known as Shalunt Wood.
How to get here
From Rothesay or Port Bannatyne, drive north along the A844 along the coast. Stay on this coastal road as it becomes the A886 shortly past Port Bannatyne and follow it until you reach the Rhubodach-Colintraive ferry crossing where you can park your car. From Rothesay to the ferry terminal by car takes around 20 minutes. Alternatively you can park at the southern entrance (see above).
The 490 bus stops at the Rhubodach – Colintraive ferry terminal. They take approximately 20 minutes from Rothesay to the ferry terminal. You can then continue north to the northern entrance or south along the road to the southern entrance. You can see the bus timetables here.
You can cycle along the A886 and there are bike racks by the ferry where you can secure your bike if proceeding by foot.
If you wish to cycle around the forest, then the forest track accessed next to Rhubodach Cottage has one stile which needs to be crossed and is then suitable for mountain bikes. We do not recommend that you cycle through the Oak or Balnakailly Woodland as the ground is not suitable.
You can walk along the A886 but should be aware that there are large sections without a footpath although there is a grass verge which you can walk along or the shoreline.
The West Island Way goes through the forest, either by taking the marked route from the road between Port Bannatyne and Ettrick Bay (A844) or the route starting along the A886 just north of Kames Castle.
We recommend you purchase a map of the West Island Way from the numerous sale points on the island and take a compass as the path is not always clear. You can see more information about the route here. You should also be aware that many sections are boggy underfoot.