Find peace and tranquility in Aldie Burn
The Aldie Burn winds lazily through this interesting forest on its way to the sea. Once, the burn powered several watermills and supplied water to the people of Tain; now it bubbles dreamily beside easy woodland trails. This is a forest for all ages, a place of tall conifers and tranquil pine, where capercaillie and pine marten hide in secret groves, and colourful dragonflies hover on gossamer wings.
You'll find public toilets, shops and eating places in Tain, 4 miles (6.4 km) away.
Aldie Burn Trail
A lovely walk up Glen Aldie. Stop to watch dragonflies along the burn then meander back through gnarled Scots pines and colourful heather.
Wide, smooth gravel surface throughout. Some moderate slopes. Includes two bridges, one 1.0m wide.
1 ¾ miles / 2.8 km Allow 1 hour
A gentle stroll to the salmon-shaped pond, where you can try pond dipping or enjoy a picnic by the burn.
Wide, firm gravel surface, with slightly loose and uneven section along forest road. Short moderate slopes. One bridge.
¾ miles / 1.4 km Allow ½ hour
Morangie cycle trail
Cycling - 12.0 miles / 19.2 km
Family fun to a fabulous viewpoint with some challenging cycling beyond it. Also suitable for horseriders.More information...
Start from Aldie Burn car park and climb steadily on forest roads to a fabulous halfway viewpoint over the Dornoch Firth. You can either whizz back the way you came or continue over rougher terrain with some demanding off road sections. Families may choose to turn around at the viewpoint.
Smooth forest road with some rougher terrain after halfway viewpoint. Moderate slopes, steep in places.
Mountain biking trails
Adventure in Aldie Burn
There's an extensive network of un-waymarked forest roads here which are great fun to explore on foot, bike or horseback. They’re well-used, so watch out for walkers, cyclists, horses and occasional vehicles. Be especially careful near the car park.
Tain Runners organise training runs in the forest to suit all levels, as well as the annual Tain Hill Trail Race. To find out more about running in the forest contact Tain Runners.
The Morangie Cycle Trail starts and finishes from Aldie Burn car park. It's 12 miles (19.2 km) long and leads to a panoramic viewpoint at the halfway point where you can picnic and rest. The first half is suitable for families but the route becomes more demanding after this.
Horse riders are welcome to ride the forest roads here. Please unload horse-boxes in the dedicated space to the right of the car park where there is direct access to the main trail.
If you're going off the main trails remember to tell someone where you are going and take some water and food, as well as a map.
A forest for all
The forest trails here are gentle enough for the whole family to enjoy. The Pond trail is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs and there is a lovely picnic site beside a dipping pond, not far from the car park.
If you want to explore a little further, a longer trail takes you beside the burn to the ruined Mineralbank Cottage, one of several crofts or small farms within the forest. The family who once lived here improved their croft using the tried and tested six course rotation system. Explore the history of the area at Tain and District Museum.
For an even greater challenge bring your bike and try the 12 mile (19.2 km) Morangie Cycle Trail around Tain Hill.
The wider forest has a small breeding population of capercaillie living here. Numbers of these big turkey-like birds are critically low and extinction is becoming a very real threat to them. To breed successfully they need large areas of mixed conifer and pine forest like this one, and no disturbance from dogs, predators and people. If you're lucky enough to see a capercaillie, please move away quietly and leave the bird in peace.
You're much more likely to see an otter in the burn or the droppings from a pine marten on the trail. Believe it or not these shy mammals are related to one another - and to badgers.
How to get here
Aldie Burn is 2 ½ miles (4 km) west of Tain in Easter Ross, not far from the A9. Halfway round the Tain bypass you'll see brown signs to 'Aldie Burn forest walk'. Turn off the A9 here (signposted to Scotsburn) and follow the road for 1 ¾ miles (2.8 km) until you see the Aldie Burn forest walk sign. Turn right and follow the forest road to the car park at grid reference NH 754 792.
IV19 1PL is the nearest postcode, just after turning off the A9.
Sorry, there is no public transport to Aldie Burn.
There are other family trails at Tain Hill, as well as across the Dornoch Bridge in Camore and Skelbo. For a longer and more challenging trail follow the Strathrory to Scotsburn Drove Road or explore the bog woodland of Monadh Mòr.
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