10 Child Friendly Walks in Aberdeenshire
Written by Anna Gill
1. Snipefield Forest and Sculpture Trail
Snipefield Woods is a magical walk for children which takes around 1 – 1.5 hours! There is a sculpture trail halfway round which is full of little gnomes and wood carved animals making this fun and engaging for kids.
The forest is located on the A920 between Colpy and Cairnhill (just past Oldmeldrum). There is a sign for Snipefield Woods a small car park off the road. The trail is fairly flat but do take welly boots as it can be muddy. From the car park, you turn left and loop round the whole forest. However, for a shorter walk you can go straight ahead from the car park and come to the sculpture trail. This would make the walk around half the distance.
2. Haddo House
Haddo House is one of the most accessible family friendly walks in Aberdeenshire. There are a variety of different paths and you can make them as long or as short as you want. You will find paths round the house, the lake, and up into the forest, many of which are suitable for buggies. This is a great place for meeting friends as there is a large car park (costs a few pounds), toilets and a café.
3. Aden Country Park
Aden Country Park has been recognised as one of the Scotland’s best green spaces and is often referred to as “The Jewel in the Buchan Crown.” There are different accessible paths throughout the park and a variety of areas for children to see, including the ruins of Aden House. This walk is another great place for meeting friends as there is great parking and a range of facilities including a café, toilets and a BBQ area. Aden Country Park also hosts different events throughout the year such as Easter egg hunts, Halloween events, and the annual Pipe Band Competition.
4. Loch Muick
Loch Muick is a long walk that will take you around 3 – 4 hours, covering almost 8 miles. While this does take more endurance, it is a great walk if you have older children. The paths are flat and in good condition, and you will feel a deep sense of peace as you walk round the loch surrounded by the Cairngorms. If you decide to try this walk, make sure you leave early as the car park fills up quickly on weekends and holidays. There are toilets close to the car park.
5. Stonehaven Harbour to Dunnottar Castle
Stonehaven beach is a classic location to visit during the holidays! But have you tried the walk from Stonehaven Harbour to Dunnottar Castle? It is only 3 miles out and back, and gives you beautiful views of the sea on one side and fields on the other. A great idea with kids is to hunt for sea glass on the stony bays just below the castle. And of course, you have to treat yourself to fish and chips or an ice cream on the beach once you have finished!
6. Millstone Hill
Looking for a challenging yet manageable hill for children? Millstone hill is a fantastic option. This hill is part of the Bennachie range and gives you amazing views over to Mither Tap. It is only 3 miles and takes about 2 hours, so children used to walking will definitely manage this. But be warned – it is a steep climb up to the top! Begin Millstone Hill by parking in the Donview Forest Car Park near Inverurie. It is free to park here and usually quiet. The path is clear and there are waymarkers to keep you in the right direction. Once you have reached the top, you come back down through a lovely forest trail.
7. Dunecht Estate
There are 2 walks on Dunecht Estate which are all suitable for children. Free parking is available outside the grounds at the verge along the road near the gates you enter from. Just make sure you are not blocking the road.
The first path is a 2 mile loop round the grounds, past the house and through the golf course. This filled with flat paths which are accessible and suitable for buggies. The second route is 5.5 miles and extends the walk by taking you round the scenic Loch of Skene.
Once you have finished this walk, you are close to Forest Farm Dairy for some of the creamiest ice creams that kids will love!
8. Crathes Castle
Crathes Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Aberdeenshire and is a great day out for families! There are 6 different walking trails on the estate – the longest being the Ley Way which is 4 miles. This is great for different ages and abilities.
The grounds also consist of a walled garden to walk round. It is bursting with colour and filled with thousands of flowers! There is easy parking and facilities such as a café and toilets at Crathes.
You are also within walking distance of the Hidden Scotland Shop within the Milton of Crathes complex.
9. Fetternear Estate
Fetternear Estate in Kemnay is one of the most interesting walks suitable for children! The paths lead you to the ruined Fetternear House, originally the site of the Medieval Bishop’s Palace. The walk to the palace and through the estate are only a couple of miles and very accessible. You can extend the walk further by heading round Cot-Town Woods where you get great views of Bennachie.
10. Kirkhill Forest
On the border between Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City lies the wonderful Kirkhill Forest! This is easily one of the best child friendly walks close to Aberdeen. It is also a suitable area for taking children mountain biking.
There is a large car park and the main trail to Tappie Tower is 4 miles. This trail has good clear paths the whole way up and gives you great views over to the North Sea and Bennachie. Tappie Tower is a fun little 19th Centaury tower that children will enjoy climbing!