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Some visitor centres are open – check individual web pages for more information. Our trails, toilets and car parks remain open. Plan ahead and enjoy your visit safely.


Where we are

COVID-19 update

Some FLS visitor centres are offering a reduced service, with walking and mountain bike trails remaining open, as are most toilets and car parks. Please check below for local updates on any closures.

We want to ensure your visit is an enjoyable and safe one.

Make sure you follow the Scottish Government’s FACTS advice – helping to protect yourself, your family and your local community, and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code helping to keep Scotland beautiful.

Quiet woodland below a general’s monument

Just five minutes from bustling Banchory lies Scolty Hill, flanked with quiet woodlands and topped by the distinctive Scolty Tower.

The forest trails that wander through tall larch and pine trees are perfect for families. You can climb the hill for panoramic views over Royal Deeside and the Grampian Mountains and – if you still have energy – tackle the Tower's dizzying staircase for an even better lookout.

Guide map to Forests of Aberdeenshire (PDF 4.1MB)

Walking trails


Craigloch Trail

Discover the mossy walls of old farms and a fine viewpoint on this shorter loop through the spruce and larch forest.

Wide, firm but uneven gravel surface throughout. Long moderate slopes with some steeper sections. Includes two wide gates. Some parts may be slightly muddy.

Moderate trail grade icon
1 ½ miles / 2.6 km

1 hour

More information

The trail is named after Craigloch croft, an old farming homestead whose walls have been recently repaired by local folk. You can find their work hidden amongst the tall larches. The people who once lived here knew spring had arrived when they heard the first cuckoo – these solitary birds fly to Scolty from Africa and Asia and, in springtime, the forest is full of their calls.


March Trail

A longer circuit through the tranquil forest, with the chance to see woodpeckers, roe deer and red squirrels.

Uneven gravel and earth surface with exposed tree roots. Some rocky and slightly muddy parts. Long moderate slopes with short steeper sections. Includes one narrow kissing gate.

Moderate trail grade icon
2 ½ miles / 4.0 km

1½ hours

More information

This interesting route takes in many of the attractions of this much-loved forest, including old farm walls and field boundaries. Native and conifer trees support a wide range of wildlife all year round: listen out for the hammering of brightly-coloured woodpeckers on dead tree trunks and the scampering of red squirrels in the undergrowth.



Cyclists and horse riders are welcome to use the Deeside way, a long distance path between Aberdeen and Ballater which runs through Scolty. The route is a great way to explore the area and see sights you wouldn't from the car!

Facilities & access

Parking (charge)
Parking (charge)
Picnic area
Picnic area

The nearest public toilets are in Banchory at the Bellfield car park.

Car parking charges

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

Annual car parking passes are also available:

  • £50 for cars
  • £120 for mini-bus/coach

Getting here

Scolty is a 5 minute drive or 30 minute walk from Banchory.

Head south out of Banchory on Dee Street (B974), cross the River Dee and keep a look out for the signs for 'Scolty Woodland Walks' on the right-hand side.

Using SatNav?

AB31 6PT is the nearest postcode.

Public transport

Regualr buses between Aberdeen and Royal Deeside stop in Banchory. Plan your journey at Traveline Scotland.

Get directions

Get in touch

Have a question or suggestion for improvement?

0300 067 6380 (option 2)
More contact information

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