Wind your way through Torrieston
Discover great trails through peaceful mixed woodland that includes statuesque Douglas firs as tall as Nelson's Column. Picnic beside the dark waters of the Black Burn – keeping an eye out for salmon and otters – or climb gently through the woods in search of red squirrels and stunning views.
You'll find refreshments and shops at nearby Elgin, Forres and Kinloss. There are public toilets at Elgin (open April to October) and Forres.
Black Burn Trail
A gentle wander through open pinewoods to the Black Burn. Plenty of places to rest and picnic.
Wide, firm and smooth gravel surface throughout. Generally flat with some short moderate slopes. Some parts may be slightly muddy. Includes a quiet road crossing and bridge 1.2m wide.
1 ¼ miles / 1.9 km Allow ¾ hour
Wind your way through open sweet-scented pinewoods, crossing two bridges over the Black Burn. Let the stresses of the day trickle away as you rest beside its gently flowing, treacle-dark waters. There’s a lovely spot for a picnic beside the second bridge – which is a great place to play Poohsticks too!
The Fieldfare Trust has a Phototrail showing details of this route.
The trail starts across the road from the car park – take care crossing the road. Follow the white waymarkers.
Douglas Fir Avenue Trail
A perfect combination of beech wood, pine forest and elegant Douglas firs, with some great views across the Moray countryside.
Uneven gravel and earth surface with exposed tree roots. Some fairly steep slopes and steps. Parts may occasionally be muddy.
2 miles / 3.4 km Allow 1 hour
This trail leads you out under an elegant canopy of mature pine and Douglas fir, beside rolling grassy fields. Look across the valley as you go to spot Pluscarden Abbey.
Mountain biking trails
Explore on horseback
A great place for horse riding with plenty of lesser tracks and trails to discover.
Take the high road!
The Black Burn Trail is an easy, level trail that is suitable for everyone. But if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, why not try hitting the heights today? The other three trails all start with short steep climb, but once you’re past that they’re not as steep as they look – and the views at the top to the Moray Firth are well worth the effort.
Look across the Vale of Pluscarden to Pluscarden Abbey as you walk up into the woods. It’s the only medieval monastery in Britain inhabited by a working order of Benedictine monks.
A hundred years of forestry
The Douglas fir trees at Torrieston are nearly 100 years old. They were the first trees to be planted here by the Forestry Commission when we took over Torrieston in the 1920s. Today they are nearly 165 feet (50 metres) tall.
Wildlife in the woods
As you explore, look out for nibbled pinecones left by red squirrels and watch for roe deer amongst the trees early and late in the day. You might also spot otter pawprints or their distinctive black spraint (a naturalist’s word for otter poo!) on the banks of the Black Burn.
You’ll see and hear many small birds seeking food and shelter in the broadleaved trees along the start of the trails. In summer, spot butterflies flitting along the paths’ grassy verges and watch blackbirds and thrushes snacking on wild cherries and rowan berries in autumn. Listen for the mewing of buzzards circling above the edge of the woods.
How to get here
From Elgin: Take the B9010 Dallas road. After 1 mile (1.6 km) turn right onto the Pluscarden minor road. The car park in on the right after 2½ miles (4 km).
From Forres: Take the B9010 Rafford/Dallas road. After 4 miles (6.4 km) turn left onto the Pluscarden minor road. The car park is on the left after 2 miles (3.2 km).
The car park is at grid reference NJ 164 588.
IV30 8TJ is the nearest postcode.
The coastal forest at Roseisle is a great place for a walk or cycle – and the sweet-smelling pinewood provides plenty of shelter in wild weather. There's a sandy beach, play and barbecue equipment, toilets and a wildlife hide too.
The pinewoods at Culbin, planted to help stabilise the shifting sands, are also a great place to walk, cycle or ride – and head to the top of the viewpoint tower to experience the forest canopy and amazing sea views.
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