Monday, 06 March 2023
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The 'winding walks' are a maze of trails through the 19th century gardens of the Duke and Duchess of Gordon. Meander through open pinewoods to find striking viewpoints and monuments, or enjoy a secluded picnic beside a secret loch. Watch out for capercaillie as you explore Whiteash Wood. This is one of the few places left in the north east of Scotland where these iconic forest birds still live.
You can find out about the history of Fochabers, and the Duke and Duchess' association with the historic Gordon Chapel, at the nearby Folk Museum in Fochabers.
Winding Walks route card (PDF)
A short loop through the forest to the gazebo tucked among the pines at Peeps Viewpoint. Enjoy impressive views over Fochabers and Strath Spey.
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.
Allow 1 hour
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.
Allow 1 hour
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.
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.
Allow 1 hour
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.
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.
Allow 2 hours
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.
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.
The charges to park at Winding Walks are:
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.
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.
From Fochabers, follow the A98 east towards Buckie for about 1 mile (2km). The Winding Walks car park is on the right.
IV32 7PG is the nearest postcode.
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.
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