Castlehill Community Woodlands and Sculpture Trail

Submitted by Owen McCafferty on Wed, 2010-01-20

This gentle walk is a pure pleasure on a sunny day. Hidden among the trees and grass you will find all sorts of interesting and informative sculpture.

Flagstone has been used imaginatively to inform visitors of the birds, sea creatures and plant life in the area. There are picnic tables where you can sit in peace and soak up the atmosphere.

Enter The Woodlands and you’ll know you’ve found someplace special. Low stone walls on a tree-lined lane lead to a private community of forty 1 to 3 acre lots surrounding two central park areas of natural rock sculptures and winding pathways through the trees. The wooded lots lay on flat to gentle rolling ground, creating ideal building sites for one or two level homes, as well as homes with finished walk-out lower levels.

The north-east corner of Caithness is packed with places where you can explore the area’s rich heritage including other sites with remains of flagstone works, harbours bearing witness to the 19th Century importance of the flagstone and fishing industries, and buildings demonstrating human presence here since prehistoric times. Wildlife is also here in abundance – explore the superb local landscape and see how many animals, birds and plants you can spot!

Hindsight is a great thing, and the level of use by both the local community and visitors justifies the confidence and foresight of those behind the project. The peace and tranquillity belies its busy and important past. This area was the cradle of the flagstone industry which was begun last century by James Traill of Rattar, Sheriff of Caithness.

Images: Sculptures in flagstone, by local artists
or with Caithness connections

Castlehill Heritage Centre Trail

Walk round site of 19th century flagstone works. Follow the stone from quarry to cutting yard to export from harbour. In magnificent coastal setting. The Castlehill Heritage Centre builds on earlier achievements – visitors can walk round the Heritage Trail which outlines the stages of the production of the stone, while an adjoining Sculpture Trail within the community woodland, demonstrates some artistic uses of the material. Contact CHS for more info.

Dunnet Beach/Castlehill Trail

Access points:

Access is 800m south of Dunnet village at the Natural History Centre and caravan park on A836, Grid Ref: ND 219 705. The south end of the beach is accessible from east of Castlehill harbour, Grid Ref: ND 202 682.

Site description:

Three kilometres of sandy beach and dunes, with rocky shores at either end. At the Castlehill end there is a further network of waymarked paths.

Access for special needs:

Rough and uneven, soft sand and steps along boardwalk. Surfaced path from car park at south end of beach.

Opening times/best time to visit:

All year, very exposed particularly in winter

Who to contact before you visit

For tidal information contact harbormaster at Scrabster Harbour. Tel: 01847 892779
Highland Council Ranger Service may be able to accompany you. This needs to be arranged prior to outing. Contact Tel: 01847 821531.

Fig: Castlehill Community Woodlands
and Sculpture Trail

‹ Castletown, Dunnet and Dwarick up Castletown Heritage Society (CHS) › Similar of ‘Castlehill Community Woodlands and Sculpture Trail’

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