Explore terrific trails at The Bin
It might be called ‘the Bin’ but it’s got nothing to do with rubbish! This site takes its unusual sounding name from the Gaelic for hill or mountain – bheinn (pronounced ‘ben’).
Bin forest was first planted in the 1840s with fir tree seeds brought back from North America by the famous Scottish plant-hunter David Douglas. Originally planted to supply timber, this forest now offers much more than just wood.
You'll find more great trails in the Forests of Aberdeenshire guide.
You’ll find plenty of places to eat and public toilets in the small historic town of Huntly, just a couple of miles away. Huntly also has a Visitor Information Centre, open from April to October in the town square (telephone 01466 792255).
Ferny Knowe Trail
A short stroll around Ferny Knowe and Boddum Hill with some great views through the majestic larch trees.
Mostly wide, uneven gravel and grassy surface. Some exposed tree roots and slightly soft sections. Includes one fairly steep slope.
1 ¾ miles / 2.8 km Allow 1 hour
Lots of wild things make their home in Bin Forest. If you want to see red squirrels or roe deer, early morning or dusk are the best times to visit. Keep an eye turned to the sky as you explore – you might glimpse a peregrine falcon or sparrowhawk wheeling high above the woodland.
Queen Tree Trail
Generations of trees can be seen on this trail, from grand firs planted in the 1840s to seedlings pushing through the soil.
Firm but uneven gravel and grassy surface. Some steep slopes. Includes exposed tree roots and slightly muddy sections.
3 ½ miles / 5.5 km Allow 2 hours
The grand fir trees planted here grew from seeds brought back from North America by plant-hunter David Douglas. The Queen Tree, which gives this trail its name, could have grown from one of them! Native trees thrive here too – gean (wild cherry) and rowan are also common at the Bin.
Bin Hill Trail
A high-level circuit of The Bin through pine, larch and birch forest with views across Strath Devon.
Largely wide, firm but uneven gravel surface. Some short grassy sections that may be muddy. Long moderate slopes with some steeper sections.
4 miles / 6.5 km Allow 2½ hours
This trail is an ideal introduction to the Bin. It takes you into the heart of the forest where larch, pine and spruce are growing: they’ll produce high quality timber for house building, fencing and timber decking.
Ord Brae Trail
A short loop through the varied forest on the slopes of Ord Hill.
Section of rough grassy path with rocky and rooty parts. Long moderate slopes with some steep sections. Short patches may be muddy.
1 ½ miles / 2.6 km Allow 1 hour
This is a great place to see wild flowers, which bring a bloom of colour along the forest trail in early summer. Look out for eyebright and the occasional delicate wild orchid on your way. In autumn abundant fungi add interest along the path.
Gallon of Water Trail
This trail recently reopened after tree felling works. Please be aware of timber stacks and possible haulage vehicles and follow any safety signs.
Climb through the forest to the top of The Bin for great views and a pool that was believed to have healing powers.
Sections of rough, narrow earth path. Long steep slope with one short flights of wooden steps. Includes some rocky, rooty and potentially muddy parts.
3 ½ miles / 5.6 km Allow 2½ hours
The ‘Gallon of Water’ is actually a shallow pool at the top of Bin Hill. People used to believe its waters had healing powers – it was particularly well known as a cure for whooping cough.
Start this walk by following the yellow markers of the Bin Hill Trail before branching off to follow the white markers to the Gallon of Water.
Mountain biking trails
As well as a great place to enjoy some fresh air and the feel of the forest, the Bin is home to two Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) – one for geology and the other for its mire or wetland. Groups can arrange to visit the sites by contacting the Moray and Aberdeenshire Forest District Office.
If you’d like to stretch your legs a bit more, there is a long-distance trail that passes through Bin forest to Balloch wood. Please be aware that Balloch Wood is a popular place for horse-riding.
How to get here
The Bin is about 2 miles / 3.2 km north of Huntly on the A96. The car park is signposted on the right.
The car park is at OS Grid Reference: NJ 505 418.
Using Sat Nav?
AB54 4TS is the nearest postcode.
You’ll find details of public transport at Traveline Scotland.
There are lots more trails to explore at nearby Coynachie.
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