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Royal Deeside : Forests and Woodlands


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Royal Deeside is fortunate in having many wonderful forests which can be enjoyed by both visitors and residents. The Forestry Commission own many forests and of these several have excellent way-marked walks and interpretive signs. In others, the visitors can can follow attractive footpaths or multi-user trails but no interpretation is provided. Some of the woods are managed in cooperation with local communities. Several forests are privately owned or run by agencies such as Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and some of these are National Nature Reserves. Some are also Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and many are within National Scenic Areas. Commercial forests run by the Forestry Commission also have social and environmental aims. Others, such as Morrone Birkwood and Muir of Dinnet, are of historic or scientific interest or both. All are sensitively managed and most offer the opportunity to observe some of the excellent wildlife in the area. The Upper Deeside Access Trust (UDAT) has improved many paths and provided interpretation boards.

In this section we will briefly describe some of these forests and woods. More details will be given in related web pages.

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Craigendarroch Wood, Ballater
Craigendarroch Hill is the site of an ancient oak wood offering a pleasant climb and great views over Deeside

 

Some of the woods and forests of Royal Deeside

The woods and forests of Royal Deeside are listed below, roughly from west to east.

Braemar Area

Morrone Birkwood (1 mile west of Braemar): An ancient hillside wood of Birches (birks). A National Nature Reserve managed by SNH offering excellent views of the Cairngorm Mountains an the chance to see herds of red deer.

Ballochbuie Forest (3 miles east of Braemar): The magnificent Scots Pine were part of the ancient Caledonia Forest Now part of the Balmoral estate.

Inver Wood (6 miles east of Braemar): a Forestry Commission mixed conifer wood. Walkers are welcome but there are no way-marked paths.

Ballater Area

Coilacriech Wood (3 miles west of Ballater) : A mixed stand of pine and birch. This is a SSSI offering fine views across the Dee valley towards Lochnagar.

Pannanich Wood (1 mile south of Ballater) : a Forestry Commission mixed conifer wood offering fine views across Ballater and the Dee valley. There is an attractive way-marked circular walk..

Craigendarroch (0.5 mile north of Ballater) : an old oak wood covering Craigendarroch hill. This is a SSSI and a great favourite with visitors to Ballater.

Cambus O' May (3 miles east of Ballater) : a Forestry Commission mixed conifer and birch wood with attractive way-marked forest walks and interpretation boards. Some of the walks are accessible by wheelchair. There is a permanent orienteering course here.

Muir of Dinnet (5 miles east of Ballater) : a National Nature Reserve managed by SNH where a heather moorland surrounding two small lochs is returning to its natural wooded state with birch and pine. There are some attractive way-marked walks.

Aboyne Area

Glen Tanar (5 miles south-west of Aboyne) : A National Nature Reserve managed by SNH, part of the Glen Tanar estate, the forest features some fine Scots Pine from the ancient Caledonia forest. There are some delightful way-marked walks.

Bell wood (0.5 mile east of Aboyne) : A conifer wood of about 100 hectares on the eastern edge of Aboyne. Very popular with residents of the town, it has recently been bought by the community who plan to improve its facilities.

Balfour wood, Birse (4 miles south-east of Aboyne) : A Forestry Commission mixed conifer wood where recent felling has opened up some magnificent views. Walkers welcome. Managed in cooperation with the local community.

Banchory Area

Blackhall Forest (1 to 4 miles west of Banchory) : A Forestry Commission mixed conifer wood offering fine views. There are miles of multi-user tracks and it includes two special areas:
Shooting Greens (4 miles west of Banchory) has some attractive way-marked forest walks and fine views
Scolty Woodland Park (1 mile south-west of Banchory) has attractive forest walks, one of which leads to the monument at the top of Scolty Hill overlooking Banchory. Managed in cooperation with the local community.

Banchory woodlands (1 mile north of Banchory) Some small woodlands on the northern edge of Banchory. Some are owned by the Forestry Commission but managed in cooperation with the local community. Walkers welcome.

Midmar Forest (5 miles north of Banchory) A Forestry Commission mixed conifer forest on the northern flanks of the Hill of Fare and offers views across to Bennachie. Walkers welcome but no way-marked paths.

Durris Forest (5 miles east of Banchory): A Forestry Commission mixed conifer forest with several attached small woods. The main forest has several way-marked multi-user trails. Walkers are welcome in the small woods though there may be no way-marked trails. There is a story trail in one of these woods.

Feteresso Forest (6 miles south-west of Banchory) The largest forest (12 miles long) in the area - though much of it lies outside the catchment area of the river Dee. A mixed Forestry Commission conifer forest with many miles of multi-user trails. It also includes the special area :
Drumtochty Glen (12 miles south of Banchory) Some delightful way-marked forest walks following attractive burns. One walk passes through an oak wood while another passes a stand of magnificent huge trees.

royal-deeside map

The approximate locations of four Forestry Commission Forest Walks in or near Royal Deeside.

A. Cambus O' May : B. Shooting Greens : C. Scolty Woodland Park : D. Drumtochty Glen


Top of Page

Introduction Journey through Deeside A Dram of Whisky 1 A Dram of Whisky 2 Forests and Woodlands Lochnagar
The River Dee Red Squirrels Craigendarroch Hill, Ballater Clachnaben by Banchory Braemar Weather  

 

 

 

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