Thursday, 08 June 2023
Latest forest information
- Update 19 May 2023: The car park is open for access to Scolty Hill and part of the March Trail only. The Craigloch Trail remains closed. Work to clear the Craigloch Trail is due to start on 1 June . Please follow all on site signage and diversions.
- There are diversions affecting access along the Deeside Way. Please follow all on site signage.
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.
A trail notice is in effect
19 may 2023: The Craigloch Trail remains closed. Work to clear the trail is expected to start on 1st June. Please follow all on site signage and all diversions until the trail is officially open again..
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.
Allow 1 hour
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.
A trail notice is in effect
18 April 2023: The March Trail is now partially open. Please follow all on site signage and all diversions.
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.
Allow 1½ hours
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 and access
The nearest public toilets are in Banchory at the Bellfield car park.
Car parking information
The charges to park at Scolty are:
Payment options: coin or RingGo
- £2 for up to 1 hour
- £2.50 for up to 3 hours
- £3 for all day
- £12 for minibus or coach all 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:
Available in advance by downloading the relevant application form and emailing to the Regional Office. Please read our Annual Pass terms and conditions before applying.
Valid at Roseisle, Culbin, Whiteash, Back o'Bennachie, Bennachie Centre, Countesswells, Foggieton, Scolty.
Valid at all Forestry and Land Scotland car parks except Tentsmuir.
Blue badge holders park free. Please display your Blue Badge clearly.
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.
AB31 6PT is the nearest postcode.
Regular buses between Aberdeen and Royal Deeside stop in Banchory. Plan your journey at Traveline Scotland.
Get in touch
Have a question or suggestion for improvement?
Countesswells' smaller and quieter neighbour
Lively community wood in the grounds of Dunnottar House
Look for hidden sculptures in this hillside wood