Culbin Forest

A diverse and ever-changing coastal forest

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Culbin has a fascinating network of tracks to explore on foot or bike.

It’s suitable for walking and cycling, with miles and miles of tracks. You can follow some of the waymarked routes such as Hill 99, or you can make your own way using a map. Most of the junctions are numbered.

A good network of paths run through Culbin Forest

Most of the forest is an RSPB reserve so if you’re a keen birdwatcher, look out for some of the residents.


Culbin is a vast expanse of trees, which was planted originally to stop the shifting sands of the dune system.

Hundreds of years ago, the sands would drift unhindered. Legend has it that a village, buried by the storms, lies under the sand.

The Forestry Commission planted over it in the 1920s. Today, it has become a home to a new generation of animal species and a popular stop for walkers and cyclists.

It is a mix of saltmarsh, mudflats, sand and shingle and is a vital feeding ground for wading birds throughout the year. If you do come across nesting birds, allow them to feed and rest in peace. Likewise with seals, keep your distance.


There are car parks at Wellhill, Cloddymoss (both near Kintessack) and Kingsteps (near Nairn)

Some of the features you can expect to see at Culbin are:

  • Hill 99 viewpoint – a massive wooden tower that rises above the trees with views over the Black Isle and Cairngorms
  • Gravelpit Ponds – An easy walk from the Wellside car park and very rewarding
  • Dragonfly Pond – a great place to see the beautiful dragonfly
  • The Gut – a muddy haven for waders and water birds
  • Buckie Loch – a stretch of marram dunes and heath which may become a loch.
  • Findhorn Bay – a local nature reserve and home to birds and seals
  • Lady Culbin’s Buried Trees – mysterious twisted trees
    The Minister’s Pool – A pool that attracts both birdlife and walkers, very close to Nairn’s East Beach.
  • Otter Pool – a big pool where you might spot… you guessed it… otters

More information

Video archive

Further information

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Parking on-site or nearby Children welcome Cyclists welcome Walkers welcome

Travel itinerary planner

Culbin Forest is in the following sections: Rather than give you a fixed itinerary, here you’ll find details of nearby attractions and links (tags) to help you find activities similar to those at this location. Don’t rush, slow down, go at your own pace and enjoy your experiences fully. You can use this information to help you plan your stay without missing a thing.
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