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Winding Walks

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Meander a maze of trails through the trees

Wander along the network of forest trails or test yourself on the Moray Monster mountain bike routes.

At the heart of these woods lies a dramatic, steep-sided gully, carved out over the years by a surprisingly small burn. Unfortunately the original Winding Walks, laid out in the 19th century by the Duke and Duchess of Gordon, are now closed due to ongoing erosion. This woodland was once part of their estate, connecting to Gordon Castle. At the top of Whiteash Hill there is a monument in memory of the Duchess – and a great view too.

A little way down the hill, Ranald’s Grave marks the spot where a rather less fortunate local lived and died.

Walking trails

Winding Walks route card (PDF)

Walking

Peeps View Trail

A short loop through the forest to the gazebo tucked among the pines at Peeps Viewpoint. Enjoy impressive views over Fochabers and Strathspey.

Wide, uneven gravel and earth surface. Some exposed tree roots and potentially muddy patches. Long moderate slopes with some fairly steep sections. Includes short flight of steps up to viewpoint.

Moderate trail grade icon
1 ½ miles / 2.3 km

Allow
1 hour

Walking

Small Burn Loop

Skirt around the towering firs, pines and cypresses of the 19th century woodland garden along Small Burn.

Mostly wide, firm but uneven gravel surface. Long moderate slopes for half a mile with some steeper parts.

Moderate trail grade icon
1 ½ miles / 2.4 km

Allow
1 hour

More information

This circuit above the Small Burn’s dramatic steep-sided glen features a variety of exotic conifers planted by the Duke of Gordon 200 years ago. For an adventurous variation, follow the signs from the trail to the Winding Walks themselves – rugged, narrow paths designed by the Duke that criss-cross the gully below.

Walking

Secret Loch Way

Wander through the pinewoods to find secluded Longhowe Loch, a former curling pond that is a great place to picnic.

Wide, firm but uneven gravel and grassy surface. Some exposed tree roots. Long moderate slopes for 500m with fairly steep sections.

Moderate trail grade icon
1 ¾ miles / 3.0 km

Allow
1 hour

More information

Relax beside the loch and look out for woodland birds. Can you spot bat roosting boxes in the trees? Bats love lochs like this, where they feed on the insects zooming around over the water.

Walking

Monument Trail

Climb through the forest to the noble cairn erected on Whiteash Hill in memory of the Duchess of Richmond. There are wonderful views across the Moray Firth.

Uneven gravel surface with slightly rocky, grassy and muddy parts. Long moderate slopes for over half a mile with some fairly steep sections. Includes some exposed tree roots.

Moderate trail grade icon
3 miles / 4.9 km

Allow
2 hours

More information

The longest of the trails at Winding Walks, this scenic route follows the edge of the Small Burn glen before joining narrower paths to reach the top of Whiteash Hill. Stand at the distinctive pyramidal monument and enjoy stunning views north to the mountains of Sutherland.

Activities

Time to hit the trails

Mountain bikers – the Monster Trails start here! Gear up for two of the more challenging Monster Trails, which start at the car park. For easier trails, try the blue graded Monster routes at nearby Ordiequish.

Facilities and access

Walking
Walking
Mountain biking
Mountain biking
Parking (charge)
Parking (charge)
Picnic area
Picnic area
Icon showing a campervan on green background
Stay the Night

Car parking information

Payment options: coin or RingGo

The charges to park at Winding Walks are:

  • £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.

Moray and Aberdeenshire Car Park Pass - £50 per car and £120 per mini-bus or coach
FLS National Car Park Pass - £100 per car and £150 per mini bus or coach

Valid at all Forestry and Land Scotland car parks except Tentsmuir.

FLS National Pass application form

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

More parking info

Stay the Night

Stay the Night continues to run through to 31 October 2024. This means self-contained motorhomes and campervans will be able to park overnight for one night in some of our car parks.

There is a £7 charge to Stay the Night at this car park. Payment can be made through RingGo with details of how to do this at each car park.

To help plan your stay, please see the details below:

  • Height barrier – No
  • Motorhome capacity of car park – 2
  • Suitable for large vehicles/caravans – No
  • Parking notes – Car park on slight slope - levelling blocks recommended. Please leave a 4m gap between other motorhomes.

Please visit our Stay the Night page for full details, participating locations, best practice, and terms and conditions of use.

Stay the night

Getting here

From Fochabers, follow the A98 east towards Buckie for about 1 mile (2km). The Winding Walks car park is on the right.

Using SatNav?

IV32 7PG is the nearest postcode.

Public transport

The nearest railway station is at Keith. Regular buses link the towns and villages along the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen – Fochabers is the nearest stop. You’ll find service details at Traveline Scotland.

Get directions

Get in touch

Have a question or suggestion for improvement?

Phone
0300 067 6380 (option 2)
More contact information

Nearby forests

Viewpoint over a large river with a mixed forest in the foreground and fields and hills beyond the river

An enchanting wood overlooking the River Spey

Facilities and activities
Walking
Walking
Parking icon
Parking
Distance from 'Winding Walks': 0.56 miles
Cycling on Blue Trails, Monster Trails, Aberdeenshire and Moray Forest District, Forestry Commission Scotland

Fantastic single-track mountain bike routes for beginners through to experts

Facilities and activities
Walking
Walking
Mountain biking
Mountain biking
Parking (charge)
Parking (charge)
Distance from 'Winding Walks': 0.53 miles
Aerial view through broad leaf trees of a valley full of fields and trees turning orange for autumn, in the back is a chain of hills

Look for hidden sculptures in this hillside wood

Facilities and activities
Walking
Walking
Parking icon
Parking
Viewpoint
Viewpoint
Distance from 'Winding Walks': 70.71 miles