Glen Tanar Pinewoods Walk

Glen Tanar can be found in the heart of Royal Deeside, set among the Cairngorms National Park. The land is of national importance as the estate is home to part of the ancient Caledonian Forest. Therefore, the beautiful trees directly descend from the first Scots Pines to arrive in Scotland around 9,000 years ago!

The walk is very much a forestry walk with paths running alongside the Water of Tanar. There are a few different trails of varying lengths at Glen Tanar so this an excellent option for all ages. Accessibility is also generally good with the paths being well maintained and clearly waymarked.

At various points in the walk, you will see there are small areas you can stop by the river to sit and enjoy the serenity of the estate. These points are very popular for photographers capturing the Water of Tanar and its surrounding forests.

Length of walk: 5 miles for longest waymarked trail (Old Pines), however can easily be made longer or shorter
Time taken: 2-2.5 hours for longest waymarked trail
Parking: Park at the Braeloine Car Park on the estate, costs £3
Facilities: Toilets at information centre

Directions:

These are the directions for the longest trail which is Old Pines marked path (green). The Chapel path (yellow) and Knockie Viewpoint path (red) are both shorter variations of this route.

  1. When you arrive at the Braeloine Car Park, take the path downhill which crosses the picturesque arched Bridge of Tanar. The information centre you see after crossing this bridge has some information regarding the trails and wildlife you can spot.
  2. Start walking upstream, curving left with the trail as it veers away from the river. Pass the Chapel of Lesmo until you reach a T-Junction at which you turn right.
  3. Continue straight ahead on the paths into the scenic woods, following the markers.
  4. The trail continues uphill until you come to the Knockie Viewpoint. The views from here are spectacular overlooking the pinewoods which stretch across the hills.
  5. There is then a clear track back down the hill into the woods, eventually meeting another track which continues to take you through the glen if you turn left. On this path, you will notice an interesting old stone structure surrounding a spring. This is a good point to sit and have a drink of water if required! Shortly after, you cross a small stone bridge over a burn and continue straight ahead.
  6. Keep following this trail until you turn right at an old stone bridge crossing the Allachy water. Again, stay on this trail until you come to the next beautiful bridge which takes you over the Water of Tanar. After this bridge you come to a T-junction at which you turn right. You will now be on ‘The Mounth Road’ which head back down the glen right along the river.
  7. As the paths gradually veer left, there is a signpost for Aboyne and Dinnet. While this path can take you back to the car park, keep following the old pine markers and turn right.
  8. You will pass Trout Loch which has a very pretty little boat hut visible across the water. Close to the end of this loch, you take a right across the bridge back over the Water of Tanar, then left to continue in the same direction back to the start point.
  9. As you continue walking along the path, you walk through a field and there is a clear path through the grass. After heading through the field, you are brought to one of the most beautiful spots on the walk as the trail meets the edge of the river once more. Across the river you get a peek of an old stone house which resides on Glen Tanar estate.
  10. At this point, you are coming close to the end of your walk. Keep heading straight along the path until you are back at the visitor centre.

This circular route is very beautiful the whole way around, and you’ll finish having really enjoyed the day! While the walk is fairly popular, it never feels overcrowded.

If after finishing you decide to make the walk longer, there is the Fairy Lochan trail (white) which heads the opposite direction of the main walk. This is around 3 miles long.

Other Activities at Glen Tanar

Not only is Glen Tanar filled with beautiful walks which they encourage the public to enjoy, they also have a range of other exciting activities going on around the estate.

If you want to venture further off the beaten track around the land, there are a variety of tracks suitable for mountain biking. Some people even cycle from Glen Tanar up to the top of Mount Keen, the most easterly Munro! Up for a cycling challenge but need a mountain bike? You can locally hire one at Cycle Highlands in Ballater.

Glen Tanar are also famous for their country sports such as Salmon Fishing, Deer Stalking and Grouse Shooting.

Refreshments Near Glen Tanar

As the walk is just beside Aboyne, this is your best place to stop for some post-walk refreshments.

Spider on a Bicycle is an extremely popular café near Glen Tanar. It’s quirky, fun, and serves great coffees and cakes. They are also dog friendly, so you can take your pup in for a well-deserved refreshment.

If you are looking for something a little more formal and filling, The Boat Inn serves up delicious meals. Their menu is varied and includes meals such as fish and chips, burgers, and nachos so there will be something for everybody!

If you are heading back from Glen Tanar in the direction of Aberdeen, you are close to the Hidden Scotland Shop which is located in Milton of Crathes just off the A93. It’s a great opportunity to come in and see a range of what Scotland has to offer!

Written by Anna Gill

Anna is the founder of the Aberdeenshire Walks social media blog, sharing local walks and encouraging people to get out and explore the places on their doorstep!

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