Ferrycroft Visitor Centre (Former Ferrycroft Countryside Centre) and Ord Hill

Submitted by Owen McCafferty on Sun, 2009-12-06

I was very impressed with this countryside centre. There are interactive displays and activities for children both inside and outside the centre. There is a superb hands-on display for the children (and adults) inside which has audio via headphones and/or speakers. A small cinema is available which tells of the archaeology of the area and there is also a story room which talks you through the history of the local woodlands.

A coffee shop is available where you can sit and watch the children in the play area. Internet Access is also available from the centre.

The Countryside Ranger is based in the centre and a number of guided walks are on offer each year. In May 2003 a Wild Encounters Weeks is planned and you can call the centre for more information on 01549 402638.

There are two marked walks from the centre. One is up Ord Hill and takes you around some of the archaeology on the hill. The view from the top is stunning.

The second walk is the Forest Wood all abilities Walk, this means that it is suitable for wheelchair access. You are asked not to take bikes or horses through here. Be prepared for surprises though! There is lots to see from strange looking fungi (which you can learn about at the centre) to the dam which was built in the 1950’s.

This is also a Tourist Information Centre and it is a very good one. The centre is open April to October, Monday to Saturday from 9:30am to 5:30pm and Sunday 10:00am to 5:00pm. Admission is free.

Ferrycroft Visitor Centre & Tourist Information Centre (Former Ferrycroft Countryside Centre)

Ferrycroft Countryside Centre opened initially in 1994 as a partnership project involving Sutherland District Council, Highland Regional Council, The Forestry Authority, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Hydro Electric, Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise and the European Union. It has acted as the base for the local Countryside Ranger, has acted as a Tourist Information Centre and has drawn some eight and twelve thousand visitors a year. The project is funded by Forward Scotland, Highland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Heritage Lottery Fund, Forestry Commission and The Highland Council. Awards for All has provided additional funding for a film. At the Centre you can:

  • Listen to the story of why most of the native woods have disappeared, and what foresters and conservationists are doing to replace them
  • Enjoy an audio-visual journey into the past to discover the peoples who lived here hundreds and thousands of years ago
  • Find out about the local hydro-electric scheme and its impact on the environment
  • Learn about the wildlife and conservation, archaeological work in the area, and places to visit
  • You could also take a walk from the centre up Ord Hill on the archaeological trail, with the magnificent views of the area from the top of the hill or through Ferry Wood on the forest walk.
  • Ferrycroft Animals: Follow the flock of sheep to Ferrycroft to discover why Lairg has always been a crossroads for people, wildlife and culture. There are games, displays and experiences for all the family. Become a wildlife detective – the clues are as strange as their owners.
  • Guide your salmon on a 3000 mile journey or lift it up Lairg dam.
  • Discover what farming families left on Ord Hill thousands of years ago.
  • Learn about the local wildlife from pine martens to black-throated divers.
  • Find out what happened when the Hydro Boys moved in or dress up as a forester.
  • Listen to local people telling their stories, watch their lives half a century ago and open the Lairg photo album.
  • Check out the best places in Sutherland for wildlife watching or discovering the past
  • Plan which route to take next at the Tourist Information Centre.
  • Meet animals, swing, run and jump, or picnic in Ferrycroft’s grounds.
  • Ferrycroft is the starting point for walks in Ferry Wood or up Ord Hill with its magnificent views and traces of past lives. Take the Ord Hill audio tour as your guide.

Lairg – Ord Hill Archaeological Walk / Ord Hill Audio Trail

  • Distance: 1.3 miles
  • Duration: 60 mins
  • Height gain: 90m
  • OS Grid Reference: NC 578 062

At the Ferrycroft Countryside Centre, where Ord Hill Archaeology Trail starts from Ferrycroft in Ferry Wood which is part of Sutherland. Lairg is the nearest town or village. There are audio visual displays based on the history of this area. State of the art technology. Use your mobile to listen in to conversations from 5000 years ago to the present. See burial mounds, chambered cairns and hut circles. English ~ (01549) 488082; Gàidhlig ~ (01549) 488083

Français ~ 00 44 (0)1549 488084; Deutsch ~ 00 44 (0)1549 488085

In order to interpret the landscape on the hill it’s best to get one or two of the leaflets available from the excellent Information Centre and looking over them while having a snack (available at the Centre) in the garden before going on to the walk.


This was the first chambered tomb to be built on the summit of Ord Hill, at the south end of Loch Shin (Sutherland). Little remains of it, only some upright stones of the passage and the chamber. The cairn material has completely gone. Behind Ord South the stone cairn of Ord North is visible.


An almost round stone cairn 27m in diameter, on the summit of Ord Hill, at the south end of Loch Shin (Sutherland). There is an entrance to the south-east, with a passage 4.2m long leading to a polygonal antechamber and a similar but larger chamber.

An Archaeological Trail starting from the Ferrycroft Countryside Centre goes to both sites: apart from these two chambered cairns, a large number of Bronze Age hut circles with their field-system and a large burnt mound are scattered on the slopes of the hill.

Check out the best places in Sutherland for wildlife watching or discovering the past. Plan which route to take next at the Tourist Information Centre. Meet sculpted animals, swing, run and jump , or picnic in Ferrycroft’s grounds. Ferrycroft is the starting point for walks in Ferry Wood or up Ord Hill with its stunning views.

Image Gallery (click on the image for larger view

Contact – Ferrycroft Visitor Centre & Tourist Information Centre

Telephone UK: 01549 402160
Fax UK: 01549 402160

Telephone non UK: +44 1549 402160
Fax non UK: +44 1549 402160
Out of season 01349 885114
Email: Click here
Web: http://www.highland.gov.uk/

Contact Ferry Wood Forestry Commission Scotland

Recreation Forester
Tel: 01408 634063
e-mail: nort…@forestry.gsi.gov.uk
Web: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/website/recreation.nsf/LUWebDocsByKey/Scotlan…

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