Braehour Forest and Westerdale Mill

This is a working mill that Provides Dale House with its electricity. To the south of Halkirk, astride the Thurso River, is the hamlet of Westerdale.

An old mill sits beside a bridge across the fast-flowing stream. Nearby is the site of a broch, defensive towers built around the time of the birth of Christ. No doubt fresh Thurso salmon were a welcome adjunct to their daily bread.

A small scattered settlement in Caithness, Westerdale lies on the River Thurso, 5 miles (8 km) south of Halkirk. Buildings of interest include 18th-century Dale House with walled garden and doocot, Westerdale Free Church (1844) and Westerdale Bridge (1834). Westerdale Bridge is a listed property of The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Braehour Forest is a Forestry Commission plantation situated beyond Westerdale on the road to Loch More. There is a single track that can be ridden as an up-and-back route which provides a good, firm surface although it is quite stony in a lot of places and is probably more suitable for shod horses. It is a very pretty route planted mainly with conifers and providing attractive views out towards Dorrery and Shurrery, beyond the forest edge.

The remote nature of Braehour means you will have access to as much “outdoor” activities as you would like. You can fish for trout, salmon, rainbows on nearby rivers and lochs. The nearby port of Scrabster also has a number of boats which can be chartered for Sea Angling where you can catch pollock, cod, ling, mackerel, rass, and coalfish to name a few! There are also lighthouses, clifftop walks, seabird colonies. Trips to Orkney and around Stroma. The Castle of Mey is also open at certain times in the year. Deer and grouse can be seen nearby, and horse-riding facilities are close by.

Braehour Forest Walk By Forestry Commission

As Part of the Forestry Commissions Active Woods Campaign & Healthy Highland Activities come and join the Local Forester For a walk and Talk in the Forest and find out what’s going on in the Forests of the Far North. Length of Walk approx 3 miles. A good chance to walk off some of the excesses from the festive period. A 34 Km circular guided mountain bike ride through Britain’s last wilderness also held. Led by Forestry Commission mountain bike trail leader. You mau also join to Borgie Forest and enjoy one of the longest and brightest nights of the year.

Access From

Braehour forest is located on the very minor road that is an extension of the B870. From the A9, Thurso to Latheron trunk road, turn at the cross roads at Mybster just south of Spittal, signed for Westerdale. Continue along this road for 3 ½ to 4 miles. You will pass the turn-off to Halkirk and then cross the river Thurso at Westerdale, with the very attractive old mill building set back beside the water. Eventually, you will pass a disused quarry on your left and approximately ¼ mile beyond this, will come to the entrance to the forest on your right, with Forestry Commission signage. Alternatively, if travelling from Halkirk, follow the minor road out from the village for Westerdale and when you reach the junction, turn right.

Follow the narrow road south west from Westerdale. It leads into the heart of the internationally renowned Flow Country; a land peopled with red deer, wildcat and otter, where the great raptors haunt the moors and curlew cry, a land where peace is a timeless, tangible presence. The town of Thurso is about 10 miles away where most things are available. Wick is approximately 12 miles away with similar facilities as Thurso. Braehour Forest, about 1.5 miles South of Westerdale.

Contact Info

Bookings to Forestry Commission, Dornoch Tel: 01862 810359.
Mon 5th 11.00 – 14.00. Caithness & Sutherland Walking Festival. Beautiful Borgie Backwoods. Borgie Forest. NC 679 579 Meet at the road entrance to Borgie Glen. 6-7 Mile walk around Borgie Forest, guided by the Forestry Commission. Suitable for dogs. Booking essential.
Bookings to Forestry Commission, Dornoch Tel: 01862 810359.
Access Officer: David Barclay: 01955 605858
Forestry Commission office: 01593 721204
Also you may contact the Caithness Riders Access Group:
For Horse riding contact:


Braehour Forest and Westerdale Mill
Caithness KW12 6UP
Scotland, UK

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