Our location is unique in the Outer Hebrides for it’s mix of forestry and long sandy beaches.
Nestled within sheltered forestry yet having magnificent sea views and access to Claddach Vallay strand and Vallay island, the stunning machair, beach and ocean. This is a designated National Scenic Area and really is a joy to explore. See below for some of our favourite things that you can do during your visit to Uist Forest Retreat.
The forest is by the committee road, one of the most popular stops on the RSPB bird of prey trail where you have the opportunity to glimpse examples of all of the bird of prey species breeding in the Outer Hebrides.
The UK’s largest bird the white-tailed eagle can be seen, as well as many other raptors such as the long and the short eared owl, hen harrier, merlin and golden eagle.
From raptors to small birds, we are also fortunate to have the smallest bird in the UK, the gold crest live here too, a tiny bird weighing the same as just a twenty pence piece! A regular part of our calendar each year is the arrival of the cuckoo in May. You can hear the cuckoo from your cabin and we often see the illusive cuckoo resting in the forest.
Within the forest you will find a small population of red deer and you may just see them wander past the cabins on occasion. In autumn time the rutting season is quite spectacular with the sound of the stags roaring around the forest as they look to out-roar their neighbours and secure their mate. Please be aware the sound of the ‘stag party’ can continue through the night and their goal is to be loud!
Balranald RSPB Nature Reserve is a short drive away and is a haven for birds such as the corncrake, cornbunting and turnstone. The reserve has a visitor centre and if you visit during the summer months you can enjoy a delicious crab roll and some home baking at The Dunes Catering Cabin.
For other birdlife including little terns you can walk to the nearby Vallay island
There are a wealth of walks to enjoy on North Uist, from dramatic moorland and rocky coastlines to the fertile machair and endless beaches. Along the way you will find some of the finest examples of flora, fauna and wildlife, you really won’t be disappointed!
You are welcome to explore the forestry track here in the forest and chance a sighting of a hen-harrier or eagle. In addition, here’s a few of our many favourite walks in the area.
This walk includes multiple spectacular east and west facing beaches, the excavated Udal archaeological site where families once farmed for thousands of years, a giant midden, graveyard and fresh water spring. It’s simply a beautiful day out!
The dramatic and rocky side of Uist. You will pass a site of a World War II air crash and likely see deer and perhaps an eagle along the way. The view from the top is breathtaking with vast plains of heather, moor and lochs. On a clear day you can view hills as far as South Uist, Harris and the Isle of Skye.
(approx 30mins across the sands at low tide)
You’ll be watching the tide come and go between the shores of Claddach Vallay and Vallay island from your cabin. You can take a walk across the expansive sands at low tide and explore the island, including around the historic house that once belonged to the late Sir Eriskine Beveridge. The protected Little terns have a nesting site here and the sounds of the rich variety of birdlife can be deafening at times. Please be careful to make your return trip before the tide closes in again!
Food & Drink
For a full list see the Eat Drink Hebrides Trail.
Our top recommended for evening meals
Westford Inn, Claddach Kirkibost
Berneray Bistro, Berneray
Temple View Hotel, Cairinish
Lochmaddy Hotel, Lochmaddy
Hamersay House, Lochmaddy
Langais Lodge, North Uist
Stepping Stones, Benbecula
Charlie’s Bistro, Benbecula
Recommended lunch / light snacks
The Dunes Catering Cabin
Stepping Stones Restaurant
Hebridean Jewellery Cafe
Recommended food shopping
Local Co-Op in Sollas, less than 5 mins drive from the forest
J Morrison Shop, Lochmaddy
Macleans Bakery, Benbecula
Kallin Seafood, Grimsay
Take a boat trip to St Kilda
Go otter tracking & seal spotting
Keep your eyes peeled when walking along the coast or book a trip with Steve Duffield at Western Isles Wildlife and get guided to some of their favourite places.
Get close to a white-tailed eagle then feast on lobster and chips
Unwind with Judith – the perfect location for your yoga
Fish for sea trout on the peaceful banks of loch Struthmòr, North Uist
Take a day trip to the Isle of Harris to see Luskentyre, Callanish Stones and Rodel Church
Your stay at Uist Forest Retreat means you are perfectly placed to explore the best of all Outer Hebrides from a single, central location. No need to pack and unpack, settle in your treehouse and take day trips to explore other islands and highlights of the Hebrides.
Luskentyre is famous for its beach that can be seen from the roadside. Rodel church is a beautiful building set in some stunning scenery. Finally, head for Callanish Stones, just don’t be an Outlander and hold on to one for too long……
Explore ancient places
Stay in and stargaze
Don’t forget to step out on your balcony on a dark clear night. Or sit in and turn out the lights! Admire the abundant stars, the milky way, and if you’re lucky you might even see the Northern Lights.
For aurora borealis updates, alerts and reports, follow Aurora Watch Western Isles.