A hilltop woodland overlooking the Moray Firth
Come and soak up spectacular modern Moray views alongside glimpses of the distant past. Wander among the old oaks and beeches and uncover Quarry Wood's remarkable history – from reptile and fish fossils to an ancient henge and a medieval hunting forest.
There are old quarries scattered throughout the wood: you’ll recognise the attractive yellow sandstone used in many local buildings.
Some very rare fish and reptile fossils were found at the quarry on Cutties Hillock, designated a Special Site of Scientific Interest. These include including Elginia mirabilis, a spiny-headed reptile about the size of a Labrador dog that roamed here long before the dinosaurs. You can see some of these fossils at Elgin Museum.
Uncover the secrets of Quarrelwood, where a reptile older than the dinosaurs was found in remarkable fossils. There are extensive views over the Moray Firth.
Firm but uneven earthy and grassy surface. Many exposed tree roots and some slightly muddy sections. Fairly steep slopes. Includes a narrow opening.
Allow 2 hours
"This scenic circular trail leads through the woods to Cutties Hillock Quarry and viewpoint. This is where fossils of Elginia mirabilis, a spiky-headed prehistoric reptile, were found, along with other creatures who roamed here 250 million years ago. Today you’re more likely to spot red squirrels, roe deer and a host of woodland birds amongst the oaks, beech and conifers!
You can link this with the Ancestors Trail to create a longer route to discover more of Quarrelwood’s historical secrets. The trail starts from the Leggat car park. Follow the reptile footprints carved into stone waymarkers.
Quarry Wood has a permanent orienteering course that offers a great introduction to this fun and adventurous sport. The course starts from the Leggat car park and can be downloaded from the Moravian Orienteers website.
Facilities & access
You can find refreshments, shops and public toilets at the nearby towns of Elgin, Lossiemouth and Burghead.
The nearest railway station is at Elgin. There are also regular buses between Inverness and Aberdeen that stop at Elgin. You’ll find service details at Traveline Scotland.
There are two car parks at Quarry Wood.
For the Ancestors Trail and orienteering course, head for the Leggat car park:
Take the A96 west from Elgin. Pass the Eight Acres Hotel and then Oakwood, both on your right, then take the next road on your right, signposted to Rosebrae. Look out for the car park on the right after about 350 yards (300 metres).
For the Elginia Trail, you need the Brumley Brae car park:
Take the A96 west from Elgin. Turn right onto Morriston Road at Eight Acres Hotel. After about ½ mile (0.8km) turn left onto Brumley Brae. Look out for the car park on the left after about 500 yards (450 metres).
- IV30 8XT is the nearest postcode for the Leggat car park.
- IV30 6AR is the nearest postcode for the Brumley Brae car park.
Get in touch
Have a question or suggestion for improvement?