Sitting at the foot of the Grampian Mountains and the confluence of the River Dee and Water of Feugh, Banchory is blessed with some truly stunning scenery. One of the best ways to explore the town and surrounding area is on foot and there are many miles of paths and tracks to suit all abilities, from low level walks along the Old Deeside Railway Line, to more strenuous walks including the wonderful climb up Clachnaben.
The following page has been developed in association with Banchory Paths. Banchory Paths have produced a leaflet highlighting the best walks around Banchory including Scolty, which can be downloaded here. The Banchory and Scolty walks below are best followed using a copy of the leaflet.
Banchory Town Walks
Falls of Feugh
An easy walk to the spectacular Falls of Feugh, especially when in spate after heavy rain. This is a great place to watch salmon leaping the falls as they return to their spawning grounds further up the river.
Grade: Easy. Distance: ½ mile/1 km each way. Time: Allow 15 minutes each way.
Terrain: All on flat pavements. One road crossing.
From the Bellfield Car Park entrance follow the signs along Dee Street towards the Falls of Feugh. Cross the bridge over the River Dee and continue on the pavement until the Bridge of Feugh is reached. Cross the road at the bridge to reach a footbridge for viewing the falls. The best times to see the salmon leaping are September to November (autumn run) and February to March (spring run). Return by the same route.
Glen O’ Dee
Enjoy the bustle of Banchory’s town centre and escape to the peaceful woodlands around Glen O’ Dee Hospital and Corsee Woods. Admire views of the surrounding hills on the way back into town.
Grade: Easy. Distance: 2 ¾ miles/4.2 km. Time: Allow 1 ½ hrs.
Terrain: A mixture of pavements and smooth paths. Several road crossings.
Status: The section through Corsee Woods is shortly going to be upgraded (expected autumn 2023). A diversion will be signposted during works.
From the entrance of Bellfield Car Park turn left into Dee Street and then immediately right into Bridge Street. Walk to the far end of Bridge Street and take the lane on the left towards Banchory Golf Club. Continue past the golf club car park and along the lane to the A93. Turn left and walk along the pavement passing the Gordon Highlanders War Memorial. Cross the road and continue along the pavement on the opposite side for 500 m. Turn right up Glassel Road, then bear right into Burnett Park. Turn right on the loop road and right again immediately before the pavilion. Go through a gate and bear left (not sharp left) on a path for 100 m to reach Corsee Road. Turn left and follow the winding road uphill for 500 m to the Glen O’ Dee Hospital. Keep to the right of the hospital buildings and turn right along a path into the woods. Follow this for 600 m to a crossroads of paths. Turn right and then left onto a path that leads to the edge of the woods at an electricity sub-station. Walk along the lane next to the sub-station and onwards along the road to a T-junction. Turn left and immediately bear right into a lane that leads to Mount Street. Walk down to the bottom of the hill, enjoying fine views of the surrounding hills. Turn left into the High Street and follow this to the pedestrian crossing at the traffic lights. Cross the road and walk down Dee Street for 100 m to reach the Bellfield Car Park.
A lovely riverside and woodland walk that includes a part of the former railway line between Banchory and Aberdeen. Enjoy views of the River Dee and hopefully a glimpse of the wildlife including otters and herons.
Grade: Moderate. Distance: 2 ½ miles/3.9 km. Time: Allow 1 ½ hrs.
Terrain: A mixture of pavements, smooth paths and rough paths. Some sections are muddy after rain. Several road crossings.
Starting at Silverbank Park cross the A93 and walk into the supermarket car park. Follow the car park around to the right where a footpath leads down to the Deeside Way. Turn left and follow the track (the former railway line) for 1 km. A network of rough paths leads off to the right allowing closer views of the river. After crossing the Burn O’ Bennie there are fine views of the River Dee to the right. 400 m further on turn left and climb a path to meet the A93. Cross the road with care and follow the pavement on the opposite side towards Banchory for 200 m (crossing a minor road and the Hill of Banchory East Road). Continue ahead along the tarmac path to the right of the Banchory Gateway Stone and straight on across a minor road. After 100 m, turn right into the woods on a path alongside a stream. This path winds uphill and crosses a minor road to reach a junction in the Hill of Banchory woods. Turn left and follow the path through the woods (crossing another minor road) for 600 m until the Hill of Banchory South road is reached near a school. Cross the road and go straight on along a tarmac path. Cross another road and continue ahead to reach Tillybrake Road. Turn left immediately into a cul-de-sac where a tarmac path at the end continues between houses. Follow the path across the ends of two cul-de-sacs and again between the houses beyond. Where this reaches a minor road, cross and bear left to a path that enters Silverbank Park. Follow this path to reach the starting point at the car park.
Explore the heart of Banchory and follow quiet paths and lanes that lead to the attractive Corsee Woods where if you’re lucky you may spot wildlife such as roe deer, red squirrels and woodpeckers.
Grade: Moderate. Distance: 2 ½ miles/4.2 km. Time: Allow 1 ½ hrs.
Terrain: A mixture of pavements, smooth paths and rough paths. Some sections are muddy after rain. Some steps. Several road crossings.
Leave the Bellfield Car Park by a path and steps between the Banchory Group Practice and Banchory Clinic to reach the A93. Cross the road at a convenient location (a pedestrian crossing is available at the traffic lights to the left) and turn right. Turn left uphill into Arbeadie Terrace and after 150 m turn left into a lane. Continue across Watson Street and at the top of the lane turn left into Ramsay Road. After 150 m turn right into the entrance of the Royal British Legion and pass to the left side of the buildings. Continue ahead on a path to meet Grant Road (noting the viewpoint hillock to the right) and turn right. After 50 m take a path to the left and aim leftwards across a grassy area to another path that joins Wilson Road. Turn right and then immediately left to follow a path through to the end of Arbeadie Avenue and ahead to Woodside Road. Cross the road and continue straight ahead along Upper Arbeadie Road for 800 m. This road becomes an unmade track and then a path through trees.
Upon reaching the T-junction at Upper Lochton Road turn left and follow the road for 200 m to the Banchory Recycling Centre. Pass to the left of the entrance gate and take the left turn at the path junction. The route leads through Corsee Woods along a rough and sometimes muddy path for 400 m to a crossroads of trails. Continue straight ahead, ignoring paths on both sides, until the exit of the woods at Burnett Terrace is reached. Walk along the road for 40 m and turn right, continuing to a T-junction with Burnett Road. Turn left and then next right to descend the rough lane of Corsee Hill. At the bottom of the lane turn left along Corsee Road to meet the A93. Cross the road and turn left along the High Street. After 400 m turn right through the arched entrance into Scott Skinner Square. At the square descend the steps (or the access ramp to the right) and turn left into the path that leads to Dee Street. Cross the road into Bellfield Car Park.
Banchory Circular Path
A complete loop encompassing the best of Banchory including the River Dee, the bustling town centre and the lovely Corsee Woods.
The first 3 km of this route follows the Deeside Way towards Aberdeen. From the far end of Bellfield Car Park walk into the park and follow the path around to the right past the Guide Lodge. Where this path meets a lane, turn left and follow this for 150 m before veering left onto a tarmac path. Bear left across the lane and continue ahead for 300 m along the former railway line. Pass beneath a bridge and turn right onto a tarmac path. After 200 m keep right at a fork. 100 m further on the main path continues straight ahead but look out for a path that leads down steps to the right and provides an alternative route for the next 400 m alongside the river. This alternative path is uneven and prone to flooding in places, but brings you beneath The Platties, the massive retaining wall that was built for supporting the railway line. The main path continues along the top of The Platties with fine views of the River Dee and Scolty. At the far end of the park turn right, follow the track to the left of a fishing hut and continue ahead for 1 km. After crossing the Burn O’ Bennie there are fine views of the River Dee to the right. 400 m further on turn left and climb a path to meet the A93.
Cross the road with care and follow the pavement on the opposite side towards Banchory for 200 m (crossing a minor road and the Hill of Banchory East road). Turn right and follow the pavement past the entrance to the supermarket. 300 m further on turn left onto a tarmac path and follow this for 100 m. Turn right onto a path that crosses the Burn O’ Bennie and leads into the Hill of Banchory Woods. Continue straight ahead for 800 m to the Hill of Banchory South road near a school. Cross the road and after 50 m turn right along a path through the trees and uphill past the school. Turn left at a path junction and continue for 250 m to another junction. Turn right to reach the Hill of Banchory West road and turn left to follow the pavement for 300 m to meet the A980 Raemoir Road at a T-junction. Turn right and follow the pavement for 500 m. Turn left into the Upper Lochton road and follow this for 800 m to the entrance of the Banchory Recycling Centre. Pass to the left of the entrance gate and continue straight ahead on a path into Corsee Woods. At a junction of paths, bear left and follow this for 250 m, going straight ahead at a gap in the forest to reach a T-junction. Turn right to shortly enter the car park of Glen O’ Dee Hospital. Bear right to a path that re-enters the woods and follow this for 500 m, going past the Banchory Woodland Trails mountain biking area. When a forest road is reached, turn left, and follow this to a gate at the biking parking area. Bear right and ascend the short, steep and rough slope onto the elevated embankment of the old railway line. Walk along this for 200 m then bear right down a path to meet Burnett Park by the pavilion. Turn left and follow the road around to the entrance of the park. Continue ahead down Glassel Road and then turn left along the A93 into Banchory. Follow this for 1 km, cross the road at the traffic lights and walk down Dee Street for a short distance to reach Bellfield Car Park.
Scolty Hill and Woodland Walks
At 299 m (981 ft), the hill of Scolty dominates many of the views from the Banchory area. On a clear day, the views from the summit are extensive in all directions, taking in the North Sea to the east and the Cairngorm Mountains to the west. The summit is crowned by the prominent tower built to commemorate General William Burnett who fought in the Napoleonic Wars and died in 1839.
Ascent from Banchory
To reach Scolty on foot from Banchory, cross the Bridge of Dee and ascend the steps directly ahead. Turn right to follow the minor road, then left at a sharp bend and right at the Scolty forest entrance. Walk along the forest road to reach Scolty Car Park. To this point is 1 mile (1.7 km). Allow 30 minutes. Continue past a gate and along the Deeside Way until it turns to the right. The route to Scolty continues ahead at this point, climbing to a gate with an interpretation panel. To the gate from the Scolty Car Park is ½ mile (0.7 km). Allow 15 minutes. From the gate a choice of routes is available (see Paths 1, 2 and 3 on the map. These can be walked in any combination. Path 1 is the steepest (and shortest) and Path 3 is the gentlest (and longest). All the paths are rough and rocky underfoot. Three suggested routes have been waymarked (Violet, Orange and Brown on the map. Allow 45 minutes to 1 hour of walking time (plus resting time) for these walks.
Grade: Strenuous. Allow 1 ½ hrs for the round walk from Scolty Car Park (2 ½ hrs from Banchory town centre), plus resting time.
Status: No issues.
Ascent from Strachan
The climb from Strachan via the Ardlair Path provides a pleasant alternative route with great views over the Feugh Valley to Clachnaben. The path is rough and rocky in places. Please park considerately in the village, noting that there is no parking on the Ardlair Farm Road. From the main road junction in Strachan walk up the Ardlair Farm Road for 600 m to where a fingerpost indicates the route to the right along the edges of fields. The path then skirts the southern edge of a woodland before taking a sharp left up the hill. Continue ahead into another forest where waymarkers indicate the steep route up to a wall before the open hillside. Ascend the path through heather to meet Path 3, from where it is a further 400 m to the summit. Return by the same route or descend via Path 1 to meet a track that skirts around the eastern side of the hill.
Grade: Strenuous. Distance: 1 ½ miles (2.3 km). Allow 1 hour, plus resting time. Distance and time one-way.
Status: There are currently fallen trees across this route in the first woodland section. These can be bypassed with care. The track that skirts the eastern side of the hill is currently closed due to ongoing forestry work.
Scolty Woodland Walks (Forestry and Land Scotland)
Forestry and Land Scotland offer waymarked trails through the woodlands at the base of the hill. These are accessible from the Scolty Car Park.
Status: Ongoing forestry work means that the Craigloch Trail is closed. The March trail is partially open. See FLS website for details.
There are many pleasant and varied walks in the Banchory area. Here is a selection of the best, courtesy of Walkhighlands and The Mack Walks.
Deeside Way: The Deeside Way is a longer distance path running from near the centre of Aberdeen to Ballater, in the Cairngorms National Park, passing through Banchory on the way. The route partly follows the Old Deeside Railway Line and is 41 miles/66 km long. The path is suitable for walkers and cyclists.
Crathes Castle Estate: An easy walk around the grounds of Crathes Castle Estate. The path is through mature woodland and alongside the Coy Burn. 4.2 miles/6.8 km.
Meikle Tap: A superb viewpoint at the eastern end of the Hill of Fare massif. 4.3 miles/7 km.
Kerloch: The highest of the hills to the east of the Cairn O’ Mount Road with excellent views. 6.2 miles/10 km.
Hill of Fare (southern circuit): A popular walk on the heather moorland of Hill of Fare. Please note that there is currently no parking available at the indicated start point. 11.4 miles/18.3 km.
Clachnaben, Glen Dye: Clachnaben is one of the most recognisable hills in the area with a prominent rocky tor on the summit at 589 m (1932 ft). The walk to the top is strenuous but very worthwhile. 5.6 miles/9 km.
Finzean and Tom’s Cairn Circular Walk: Tom’s Cairn is a small hill but one of the best viewpoints in the area. 6.7 miles/10.8 km. A shorter ascent can be done from the car park at the war memorial on the B974 Finzean to Ballogie road, returning by the same route.
Finzean Water Mills: An easy walk to the historic water mills alongside the Water of Feugh. 3.3 miles/5.3 km.
Potarch Bridge: A gentle forest walk taking in the historic Potarch Bridge. 3.9 miles/6.1 km.
Finzean Circular Walk: An easy walk taking in Finzean Village, Finzean House and Finzean Farm Shop. 5.4 miles/8.7 km.