Forestry & Woodland Walks
We are fortunate at Cairngorm Lodges to be surrounded by stunning scenery, mountains and woodland. The forest lodges themselves sit in the outstanding woodland estate of Blelack and come with your own pine forest, river and walks! Also within walking distance of Cairngorm Lodges is the Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve with its beautiful scots pine and birch trees.
Royal Deeside is a heavily forested area where the colours are spectacular. The Forestry Commission owns many forests and of these several have excellent way-marked walks and interpretive signs. Some forests are managed by 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. The Upper Deeside Access Trust (UDAT) has improved many paths and provided interpretation boards. Areas such as Glen Tanar are popular and it has one of the largest and finest remnants of Scotland's native scots pinewoods. Please see our main walking page for more information.
Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve (on the doorstep of Cairngorm Lodges) 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 in this wild landscape.
Burn O’Vat ( 2 miles south of Cairngorm Lodges) Burn O’Vat is a giant pothole carved by melt water during the last Ice Age. There are well surfaced and way marked routes through the birch and pinewoods of the neighbouring Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve
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.
Coilacriech Wood (3 miles west of Ballater) A mixed stand of pine and birch. This is a SSSI offering stunning 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.
Cambus O' May (3 miles east of Ballater) : Four circular trails, including a route for all abilities, run through Highland pinewoods from the Forestry Commission car park near this hamlet on the A93 between Ballater and Dinnet. It is 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.
Glen Tanar National Nature Reserve Glen Tanar lies about 3 miles from Aboyne and boasts one of the largest and finest remnants of Scotland's native pinewoods. The glen supports typical Scots Pine and pinewood plants and animals. Look out for Scottish crossbill, capercaillie and red squirrel, as well as plants like blaeberry and twinflower.
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.
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 Hill (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.
The Hill of Fare is a very fine mini mountain range with several tops with excellent walking and is the closest major hill to Aberdeen.
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 Commision conifer forest with many miles of multi-user trails.
heart of Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms