Come to Countesswells
Different woodland types and a variety of short and long trails make this a very popular forest for all ages. These attractive woods were once part of the Countesswells estate and are well-established, with huge conifers creating a cathedral-like atmosphere near the car park and colourful beech, larch and pine elsewhere.
The forest trails are designed for cyclists and walkers and give gentle views over Aberdeenshire farmland and towards the city of Aberdeen. They can be combined into a memorable circular route passing through the length of the forest.
There are 24-hour accessible public toilets at the Library in Cults and plenty of places to eat in Cults and Bieldside.
Please note, parking charges are as follows:
- £1 for up to 1 hour
- £1.50 for up to 3 hours
- £2 for all day
- £8 for minibus and coach all day
Season passes are also available. For more information please contact us.
Beech Tree Trail
A short stroll through the huge conifers and colourful beech trees that line the route.
Mostly firm gravel surface. Section of uneven earthy path with exposed tree roots and muddy areas. Fairly steep slopes.
1 ¼ miles / 2.1 km Allow ¾ hour
The trail goes through groves of smooth grey-barked beech trees. In spring the leaves are vivid green, turning darker in summer before blazing into autumnal oranges and browns. The beech is deciduous which means that it loses its foliage every year, creating a wonderful carpet of crunchy leaves to kick through!
The trail is through trees so can be muddy after rain but is surfaced in places.
The Big Tree Trail
Wander through giant Sitka spruce and majestic Douglas fir on this short jaunt through the forest.
Firm gravel surface with some uneven sections. Moderate slopes. Some parts may be muddy after rain.
1 ½ miles / 2.5 km Allow 1 hour
This is a great trail for getting a quick blast of fresh air and exercise at any time of day. There are viewpoints over farmland and out to Kingshill Wood.
Gairn Hill Trail
A fine circuit of Gairn Hill Wood, which is home to a variety of trees and some good views across Aberdeenshire.
Firm gravel surface throughout, with some rocky, rooty and muddy parts. Long moderate slopes with some short steeper ramps.
2 ¾ miles / 4.4 km Allow 1½ hours
Continue into the pines of Kingshill Wood for some great views over Aberdeen and the surrounding countryside.
Firm but uneven gravel surface. One short earth section and some muddy parts. Some fairly steep slopes.
4 ¾ miles / 7.7 km Allow 2½ hours
Add this extra loop to the Gairn Hill Trail. Start at the Countesswells car park and follow the red waymarkers initially until you reach the edge of Kingshill Wood.
In summertime, purple and cream foxgloves line the trail and wild raspberries and blaeberries (blueberries) grow in its shady clearings.
Mountain biking trails
Countesswells is a multi-activity forest popular with walkers, runners and cyclists. Enjoy being active but be please aware of other users too. Some walkers might like to try the trails in Foggieton wood, next door.
There's a choice of routes for family cycling and walking. More experienced cyclists often combine trails into a longer ride which takes in the whole forest. For a more technically-challenging experience try the Kirkhill Mountain Bike Fun Park a few miles away.
These trails are good for joggers, runners and anyone looking to get fit in the fresh air. During the summer months orienteering events take place here and next door in Foggieton woods. Newcomers and families are welcome.
For horse-riders there's a designated waymarked horse trail which winds around the edge of the forest. Orienteering events are organised by Grampian Orienteers.
The forest is made up of several different woodlands and was formerly part of the Countesswells estate. It was once owned by the family of General Burnett, whose memorial tower crowns the top of Scolty Hill.
There are two hills within the forest – Kingshill and Rotten O'Gairn or Gairn Hill, each with its own character.
How to get here
From Aberdeen on the A93, turn right (north) at the Bieldside church junction. Turn right again at the T-junction, then first left. The forest car park is on the left, 200 yards from the T-junction.
From Aberdeen on the A944, turn left (south) at the Kingswells roundabout. The forest car park is on your right, approx 1 mile / 1.5 km from the roundabout.
The entrance to the car park is at grid reference NJ 870 045.
AB15 8QD is the closest postcode.
There are more trails at Foggieton, just half a mile away.
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For questions and complaints, please contact us directly.