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Storm Clean-up: Many of our forests, especially in the east and south of Scotland, remain closed. Please plan ahead and check online before visiting.

Back o’ Bennachie

Where we are

Latest forest information

Forests all across Scotland have been seriously affected by recent storms. We are doing everything we can to make our forests safe for visitors, communities, forest businesses and our staff. However, many of our forests remain closed while others have significant diversions and access restrictions for the foreseeable future. Please keep safe and follow all closure notices and safety signage.

Take care on or around open water. Find out more on our Water Safety page.

Update 21 December: The car park and trails remain closed at present due to the amount of windblown trees.

About

A favourite start point for those climbing Oxen Craig

Spilling down the northern slopes of the hill, the forest at Back O’Bennachie is a delight. There’s a large, open picnic area where you can have a barbecue or play a game of forest football, and trails through atmospheric forest.

On the hillside above the forest you can find the remains of the quarry that supplied stone to build local villages, and a superb circuit that takes in three of Bennachie’s summits.

Back o' Bennachie route card (PDF)

Walking trails

Walking

Larick Trail

From a fresh green burst in spring to an autumn blast of gold, the larick (larch) here provides a different colour for all the seasons.

A moderate to fairly steep trail, with varied surfaces: firm forest roads, earthy paths that can be muddy and rough sections with rocks, roots and large steps.

Strenuous trail grade icon
1 ½ miles / 2.4 km

Allow
1 hour

More information

The trail passes through native, naturally-growing trees like Scots pine, as well as forest planted with other species chosen for their timber value.

Walking

Mither Tap Quarry Trail

A great workout on the hill, visiting the Mither Tap and Bennachie’s highest summit - Oxen Craig.

A very steep, rough trail with long climbs, large steps, rocky and some areas on the summits which may be muddy.

Strenuous trail grade icon
5 ½ miles / 9.0 km

Allow
3¾ hours

More information

The longest route to the landmark of the Mither Tap, this trail also visits Bennachie’s highest summit at Oxen Craig. On the way you’ll pass the old quarry at Little Oxen Craig, where stone was cut in the 1800s to build houses in nearby villages. Watch out for the sculpture installed here.

Activities

Going to the top?

It may not be a Munro, but climbing Bennachie can be a real mountain experience with real mountain dangers. Ice and snow make the paths extremely hazardous in winter and spring. Even in summer the wind blows constantly at the top and temperatures will drop suddenly in rain. Don’t get caught out - dress warmly, take boots and waterproofs and be prepared to turn back when the weather changes.

Facilities and access

Walking
Walking
Toilets
Toilets
Parking (charge)
Parking (charge)
Mountain access
Mountain access
Barbeque
Barbeque
Picnic area
Picnic area
Ancient monument
Ancient monument

Life’s essentials

The toilets here are open from 1st April to 31st October. You’ll find places to eat in Oyne, Chapel of Garioch and Inverurie.

Car parking information

The charges to park at Back o'Bennachie are:

Payment options: Coin or Card

  • £1 for up to 1 hour
  • £1.50 for up to 3 hours
  • £2 for all day
  • £8 for minibus or coach all day 

We recommend you bring both coins and cards with you in case our machine is having an off-day. Please park with care and consideration. In particular please park in designated parking areas only and do not block entrances or gates. Nearby car parks with free parking can be found in our local forest list without the £ symbol. 

Annual parking pass available:

Blue badge holders park free. Please display your Blue Badge clearly.

More parking info

Getting here

Follow the A96 north from Inverurie for about 7 miles (11.2 km). At the Oyne Fork turn left onto the B9002, signposted to Insch. Follow this road through Oyne village for about 2 miles (3.2 km), then turn left on a narrow road signposted ‘Back o' Bennachie Forest Walks’. The car park is about 1 mile (1.6 km) up this road.

Using SatNav?

Nearest postcode: AB52 6RH 

Public transport

Buses serve Oyne village, about 1 ¾ miles (2.8 km) away. Check Traveline Scotland for details.

Get directions

Nearby forests

Path through heather with view over to farmland

The most popular route to Mither Tap - with good reason

Facilities and activities
Walking
Walking
Toilets
Toilets
Parking icon
Parking
Mountain access
Mountain access
Picnic area
Picnic area
Ancient monument
Ancient monument
Distance from 'Back o’ Bennachie': 1.20 miles
Aerial view of visitor centre and forest at Bennachie

The best place to start for Bennachie first-timers

Facilities and activities
Walking
Walking
Toilets
Toilets
Parking (charge)
Parking (charge)
All ability trails
All ability trails
Visitor centre
Visitor centre
Mountain access
Mountain access
Picnic area
Picnic area
Ancient monument
Ancient monument
Distance from 'Back o’ Bennachie': 2.29 miles
Forest floor covered in moss

The best views of Bennachie on a quieter walk to the summit

Facilities and activities
Walking
Walking
Parking icon
Parking
Mountain access
Mountain access
Picnic area
Picnic area
Distance from 'Back o’ Bennachie': 3.49 miles

Get in touch

Have a question or suggestion for improvement?

Phone
0300 067 6380 (option 2)
More contact information

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