Ardkinglas Woodland Garden, Gruffalo Trail and Fairy Trail

Ardkinglas Estate, Cairndow, Argyll PA26 8BG

Situated on the shores of Loch Fyne in Argyll, against a spectacular background of mountain and forest, Ardkinglas Estate covers around 4800 hectares.

The estate’s lower Ardkinglas Woodland Garden, often referred to as The Pinetum, was initiated around 1875 by the Callander family and now provides a home for many champion trees, rhododendron and sorbus collections and a variety of native wildlife.

The garden’s favourable growing conditions led to the exceptional size and longevity exhibited by its many coniferous species. Its champion trees include the ‘mightiest conifer in Europe', a remarkable European Silver Fir (Abies alba) with a girth of nearly ten metres, Patagonian Cypress (Fitzroya cupressoides), Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa), Western Red Cedar (Thuya plicata) and the unusual Mountain Hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana var. jeffreyi).

Ardkinglas’ sizeable rhododendron collection started in the 1920s aided by the new varieties made available by the intrepid plant-hunters of that time. The growing conditions within the garden – sandy loam soils, shelter and ample rainfall – match perfectly with the requirements of many members of the rhododendron family, including Rhododendron Augustinii and Rhododendron 'Polar Bear'.

Throughout October, the garden’s sorbus collection exhibits a varied range of berry colour: white, pink, yellow and orange-red. The magnificent, ancient Beech trees also display yellow, gold and burnt-orange autumn tints.

Children can embark on the garden’s Fairy Trail and Gruffalo Trail. The Gruffalo Trail showcases selected extracts from the Scots version of the famous book to link the story to the setting of this special corner of the garden. Beyond the upper end of the garden lies a route to a further network of wilder woodland walks for all the family to enjoy.

Ardkinglas is taking part in this year’s Scottish Tree Festival which kicks off this weekend until 1st December. Visit the Discover Scottish Gardens website to find out more.


Telephone: 01499 600261

Opening times: Open all year round during daylight hours

Admission costs: £5 per person, £2 children 3-16, under 3’s free

Garden of the Week is in association with Discover Scottish Gardens. For more information, advice and day-out ideas, visit