Dunain Community Woodland10 Jan 2021
We’re closed just now because of Covid restrictions, and we’re deep in the short dark days of winter. We’re looking forward however to the fine summer walks we’ll enjoy again soon. Hopefully life will have returned to something more like normal by the time the summer weather’s here again. One of our favourites is a wander around Dunain Community Woodland to the west of the city. Dunain Hill is the prominent wooded hill with the radio masts on it which is visible from so many parts of Inverness, and the Community Woodland lies on its north-eastern flank. You can explore the area easily from the apartment.
How to get there
To access the area by car, take the A82 Fort William Road out of the city and turn right about 1 kilometre after the end of the speed limit (Signed – Inverness Crematorium). Immediately turn left again by a derelict lodge and follow the road uphill. There’s a small car park by the duck pond on the left at the top of the hill. The area can also be accessed on foot by reasonably fit walkers all the way from the apartment door. Depending on how much you wish to explore, you should allow between 1.5 and 3 hours.
From the car park, follow Foresters Way downhill on to Leachkin Road and look out for the Great Glen Way signpost opposite the large timber-clad headquarters building of Scottish Natural Heritage. To get there on foot from the apartment, turn right on leaving the building, right again at the computer shop, go straight across at the crossroads (where there’s a pedestrian crossing) and follow Harrowden Road all the way to the canal. Cross the canal on one of the lock gates and turn left on the far side. After about 1.5 kilometres, watch for a flight of steps leading down off the towpath. These lead down on to the Great Glen Way.
It’s then just a case of following the Great Glen Way (signed) up the hill to Leachkin Road, which it crosses close to the Scottish Natural Heritage building. Follow it on up the hill into the Community Woodland area.
Take time to explore
The Great Glen way continues onwards through the area, up a tree-lined avenue which is delightful in summer, and indeed in autumn. It bends right sharply after about 500 metres, but a pleasant grassy path continues straight on through grassland. Why not use one path on the way up and the other on the way back? There’s a small reservoir at the top which is the focus for much bird activity, and you have a good chance of spotting a buzzard or two or a red kite anywhere in the area. The West Highland Way continues westward out of the community woodland and onwards to, eventually, Fort William. If you have time, following it a short distance on from the reservoir will open up fine views of the Highland hills (weather permitting) near the electricity pylon.
There’s a network of informal narrow paths through the community woodland area and these are worth exploring to appreciate the variety of the landscape. You can find an indicative map here thanks to the Community Woodland Trustees.