We’ve already talked about where you can see Argyll’s rainforest, but what’s so special about it anyway? And what should you look out for when you’re there?

Hidden tree-sure – our best kept secret

Not everyone is aware of the presence of temperate rainforest in Scotland, despite it being a country associated with high amounts of liquid sunshine. This is the first part of the answer to ‘what makes it a rainforest’? Rain! Also, relatively constant temperatures. Scotland’s rainforest has a mild climate all year-round, where it rarely snows.

Like the better-known tropical rainforest, trees in our rainforests cohabitate with hundreds of species of lichens, mosses, and liverworts. It’s these internationally important species which make our rainforest so special and support the variety of life found there. Not only do they help maintain the humidity in the forest but they’re a big part of what gives these woodlands their enchanted, all-encompassing feel.

Get lost in lichens: species of Atlantic Woodlands

The plants which help keep these forests healthy are lichens and bryophytes (mosses and liverworts). Lichens are two organisms in one – a fungus and either an alga or cyanobacteria. Mosses have small leaves that grow all round their stems, whereas liverworts have two ranks of leaves either side of their stem. Most of these species require you to get up close and personal with them for you to truly appreciate them. Look at them with a magnifying glass and it’s like peering into a new world!

Lobaria species of lichens indicate old growth woodland and good air quality. 

Know your Western Featherwort from your Greater Whipwort

You don’t have to be an expert to appreciate the beauty and intricacy of the plants found in our Atlantic rainforests. However, if you want to learn more about these incredible species, there are options. Plantlife have produced a handy guide showing what plants there are at different Atlantic woodland sites. It even shows what section of the route they are in! Why not try a plant identification app for your phone as well?

Wood sorrel Lobaria virens

Follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Follow the code to stay safe and ensure you use the woodlands in a responsible way to help ensure their enjoyment by others!

…And don’t forget to stop and take in the views!

Barnluasgan, Knapdale