Duchess Wood Local Nature Reserve

New Version from Ian 26Jan12The Duchess Wood Local Nature Reserve (LNR) is an outstanding example of protected natural heritage combined with local community use for leisure and recreation. It is a protected area of land designated by the local authority as a LNR because of its local special natural interest and educational value. Duchess Wood is the only designated LNR in Argyll and Bute.

Management of the Wood is the responsibility of the Council which it carries out through the Duchess Wood Local Nature Reserve Committee, chaired by local Councillor Aileen Morton. Click on the MAP opposite to view a large version in more detail.

In addition to the Council’s formal DWLNR Committee, there is also a flourishing local voluntary group, The Friends of Duchess Wood (FODW). The FODW has places on the DWLNRC , so the two function cooperatively. Since the Argyll and Bute Council is 65 miles away, the FODW provides local input to the running of the Wood as a community representative charity. It raises funds, provides a safeguarding function (including links with the environmental, police, fire and other services), publishes information materials, assists in educational aspects and a range of other functions.

The FODW is especially concerned with :

  • the condition of paths, bridges and culverts
  • forestry and biodiversity
  • tree panting
  • litter clearance
  • communication with the public  –  both local residents and visitors
  • education

Tree planting by Friends of Duchess Wood

What’s going on at the moment?

  • clearance of invasive species
  • tree planting
  • storm damage rectification and other clearing up
  • repairs to bridges, culverts, paths and fences
  • education and research work, and publication of species checklists
  • newsletters
  • events (e.g. guided nature walks, Walking Theatre performances, Easter egg hunts)
  • support for events by other organisations (e.g. cross-country running, orienteering)

To learn more, please see the Friends’ website at

A bit of history

The Duchess Wood has been loved and used for many generations past and used to be known as the ‘Bluebell Wood’.

Duchess Wood LNR was formally opened by Magnus Magnusson in 1998. At that time there were only 25 LNRs in Scotland. Luss Estates, which owns the land, provided it on a 15-year agreement to Dumbarton District Council which took on responsibility for its management, a responsibility which passed to Argyll and Bute Council. It is hoped that this agreement will be renewed soon.

Your views are welcome and any offers of help would be gratefully received. You can communicate with us through our website at

Where is the Duchess Wood Local Nature Reserve?

It lies to the West of Helensburgh, in the Green Belt.

There are four main access points:

  • from the car park which is near Kathleen Park, north of Rhu Road Higher, between two sets of playing fields
  • where Rhu Road Higher becomes West Montrose Street to the east of the playing fields
  • at the western end of Millig Street
  • at the north-east corner of the wood at the end of Paterson Drive, beside the railway