Photo courtesy of Ellon Castle Gardens

You'll find a rich picture of nature, history and art. Rural, nautical, urban, our story begins before the Picts.

Aberdeenshire Council Cycling Routes 

Whether you are a local resident or a visitor to the area there is a lot to see and do in Aberdeenshire. Cycling in Aberdeenshire is a healthy and enjoyable way of experiencing the area. Series 4 is specific to our district.

The website provides routes to get fit, have fun and learn more about Aberdeenshire.

Aden Country Park

Often referred to as “the jewel in the Buchan crown”, Aden continues to be recognised as one of the United Kingdom’s best green spaces, being awarded, year on year, the prestigious Green Flag Award. In the heart of the park lies a central courtyard area with unique semi-circular farmstead buildings. Built around the 1800s these buildings now house the Aberdeenshire Farming Museum, Café at Aden, Aden Craft and Gift Shop, staff offices, and soon to be completed, Coach House Visitor Information Centre. Aden’s other facilities include a fantastic new children’s play area, picnic and BBQ sites, walks and trails, Hareshowe Farm, North East Folklore Archive (NEFA), Aberdeenshire Recording Centre, Book of Deer exhibition, SANDS and carers/sensory gardens, outdoor gym, dog agility and exercise area, horse arena and bridleway, car parking, fully accessible changing places toilet facilities, and for those who want to stay for longer, an enjoyable stay at the 4 Star Aden Caravan and Camping Site.

Aikey Brae Stone Circle

Remains of a recumbent stone circle, the most intact recumbent stone circle in Buchan, with five erect stones including the recumbent and east flanker, five fallen stones including the west flanker. Also known as Parkhouse. The stones are set upon a circular bank of small stones and earth circa 14.4 m in diameter, 1.92 m in width and 0.76 m in height, and with kerbs formed by slab-like stones on the inner and outer faces.

Balmedie Country Park

Long, sandy shoreline backed by rolling dunes and wetlands, with nature trails on a wooden boardwalk.

Brewdog Brewery

Born in a garage in 2007, Brewdog is the fastest growing Food & Drinks company in the UK. The brewery in Ellon is one of the most advanced in the world and visitors can enjoy a Dogwalk, which takes in the original brewhouse, the epic new expanded Site 3 brewhouse, the Lone Wolf Distillery, the mind-blowingly spacious warehouse, awesome canning line and a cheeky look at the HQ offices, before relaxing with food and drink at the onsite Dogtap pub.  Ellon is also home to our Overworks Brewery - dedicated to sour beer, which is served on handpump in the Dogtap pub.

Bullers of Buchan

A hamlet of cottages overlooks a fishermen's cove beside a collapsed sea cave, which forms a cylinder of rock around 100 feet deep. An archway lets the sea in through the cliff and on rough days the sight and sound of the ocean breaking through can be daunting. Starting with the fulmars in February and followed by puffins and guillemots, you'll see all kinds of seabirds nesting here and the clifftops are festooned with wildflowers in season. The headland is the place for dolphin and whale watchers but be VERY careful: all of these walks are on high cliffs and there is no fence.
(Thanks to Leslie Mess for the photo).

Collieston Harbour and Beach

The family-friendly beach at Collieston is well-protected from the elements as it sits inside the harbour. Around this tiny fishing village you'll find cliffs and rocks with well established walks. The Forvie Nature Reserve begins at the edge of the village and runs for 3 miles down the coast to the Ythan Estuary. Originally known for the popular delicacy Collieston Speldings, it is more famous now for leisure activities and wildlife. An ice cream cafe at the harbour opens during the summer season. (Leslie Mess photo)

Cruden Bay Golf Club

A traditional Scottish links golf course, originally designed by Tom Morris of St Andrews and Archie Simpson in 1899 and re-designed in the 1920’s by Tom Simpson and Herbert Fowler. Cruden Bay regularly appears in the list of the world's top 100 courses.

Cruden Bay Harbour and Beach

Cruden Bay has around a mile and a half of curving, sandy beach and dunes. Surrounded by cliffs and greenery, the beach has a slight pink hue, probably from the erosion of the red cliffs to the North. Visitors vary with the seasons. You'll see fishermen, sailors, jet-skiers, walkers, wind and kite surfers, day-trippers, paddlers and sandcastle architects - though not all at the same time. And the beach is a designated bathing water area so check the temperature and don't be shy. The harbour, Port Erroll, sits at the Northern end of the bay and offers berthing, hardstanding and slipway services. You can even park overnight in the car park for a small fee.

Cruden Bay to the Bullers of Buchan

This dramatic coastal walk passes the impressive ruins of Slains Castle, one of the inspirations for Bram Stoker's Dracula, and reaching the Bullers of Buchan, where there is a massive blow hole with several natural arches. A bus can be caught from the main road to return to Cruden Bay; alternatively those looking for a much longer walk could continue on the coast path to Boddam, or head back the way they came. (Leslie Mess photo)

Culsh Memorial

Great monument built to commemorate a local Liberal MP who did much good for the area. The building is accessible from a side gate inside the cemetary at the back left side. The best place to park is outside the cemetary gates or by walking around the corner to the monument gates. The keys to let you climb up inside the tower are available from the village shop by the post office for £5 deposit. The views are great on a clear day, you can see the white horse on Mormond Hill and the ruins of Fedderate Castle which are both also worth a visit.

Deer Abbey

For more than 300 years, Deer Abbey was home to Cistercian monks. They seem to have lived a quiet and contemplative life until the Protestant Reformation of 1560 brought the abbey’s spiritual use to a close. The abbey is associated with the Book of Deer, which was probably kept in the abbey’s library. This Gospel book was written around AD 900 but contains many additions from around 200 years later. These additions are the oldest body of Gaelic writing in Scotland.

Drinnie's Wood Observatory

Octagonal observatory, built in 1845 by Admiral George Ferguson, fifth laird of Pitfour. Constructed in harled brick, with a granite belt course, cornice and crenellated parapet.

Ellon Castle Gardens

Right in the heart of Ellon, these tranquil Castle Gardens were first set out by Baillie Gordon and completed in 1715 - check out his coat of arms on the side of Raeburn & Christie's offices. The original castle dates back to the 15th century and, after a long and sometimes bloody history, the gardens and the castle ruins are cared for by a trust which holds open days and events showcasing the progress of this sympathetic restoration.

Ellon Circular Walk

An exploration of the main historical and wildlife features of Ellon.

Ellon Walks

Download the map and enjoy the great outdoors at your own pace. If this doesn't meet your needs, there are walking maps aplenty at the library.

Formartine & Buchan Way

The route is 40 miles in length from Dyce to Fraserburgh with a 13 mile spur from Maud to Peterhead. The route has been divided into eleven sections, all of which are easily achievable for day trips.

Enjoy individual sections or group a few together for a longer adventure. Each route card provides detailed information about the particular section.

Forvie Sands

Forvie nature reserve covers over 2000 acres of internationally important coastal habitats between the North Sea and the Ythan estuary and has great walking and cycling routes. Home to a variety of wildlife, Forvie is particularly known for its birds, including the largest breeding colony of eiders in Britain, four species of breeding terns plus wildfowl and waders.

Fyvie Castle

This 800 year old fortress houses an impressive portrait collection, including works by Raeburn, Batoni, Romney, Gainsborough, Opie, Lawrence and Hoppner, and is home to a host of architectural treasures including the racquets court, bowling alley, ice house, bird hide and even a restored earth closet. Photo courtesy of NTS.

Gight Wood

An ancient, broadleaved woodland beside the Ythan, near Methlick and Haddo, Gight Wood is home to badgers, brown hares, foxes and red squirrels. You'll find more places like this on the home page of the Aberdeenshire Rangers

Grampian Cycle Partnership

Grampian Cycle Partnership works with local clubs, groups, associations, businesses and workplaces and individuals, the local authorities, government and national organisations to help achieve their ambitions through encouraging, developing, promoting and supporting cycling and work towards making Aberdeen city, Aberdeenshire and Moray even more welcoming to cycle in than they are currently.

Hackley Bay

About a mile over the dunes from car parks at Forvie and Newburgh, you'll find a beautifully isolated beach which is only accessible on foot or by sea. A great place to picnic or just sit and think - and used occasionally by intrepid kayakers as a snackstop. Bring your own food - take away your own litter.

Haddo House

Regular tours share the 400 year history of the Gordon family at this magnificent Scottish, Palladian-style stately home, featuring a large art collection including 85 James Giles paintings of Aberdeenshire castles. Enjoy the terrace garden or join park rangers for wildlife tours around the extensive grounds. There are visitor centres for the house and park, picnic areas, cafes and a dog park. Photo courtesy of NTS.

Haddo House Angling Club

Haddo House Angling Club can offer approximately 6 miles of prime salmon, sea trout & brown trout fishing over 3 beats on the river Ythan.

The highest beat, Gight, lies in a beautiful wooded valley which has single and double bank fishing.
The Methlick water has southern bank fishing between Waterloo Bridge and Tangland Bridge.
Tarves water has southern bank fishing of approx. 3900m from Tangland Bridge downstream.

Ladymire Equestrian Centre

Ladymire Equestrian Centre is situated very privately in countryside just outside of Ellon. We offer lessons and hacks for all ages and abilities, private livery and equestrian days when young fans can also learn how to look after horses.

Louden Wood Stone Circle

This recumbent stone circle is not hard to find once you get onto the forestry track, but the track off the main path is hard to find. There are no signposts to show the way. There are 2 paths only a few yards apart off the main track. Take the second path if you're coming from Drinnie's Wood car park past the Observatory. Loudon's Wood Recumbent Stone Circle like all stone circles is worth the effort to find. 

Maud Railway Museum

Maud Railway Museum is housed in the former station buildings at Maud Junction in rural Aberdeenshire. The museum is open fortnightly from April to October from 10am till 4pm. (see Facebook). All the tracks to and from Maud are now cycle and foot paths.

McDonald Golf Club

McDonald Golf Club in Ellon is set in the heart of the Aberdeenshire countryside, 16 miles north of Aberdeen. This scenic eighteen hole golf course provides a memorable golfing experience for all standards of golfer.

The parkland course is named after its benefactor Sir James McDonald who, in 1926, gifted the old woodlands to the people of Ellon. The original nine hole course winds its way through this magnificent forest with its stately trees and beautiful rhododendron bushes. The well established first nine has a natural stream that twists and turns across the course and features on almost every hole

Mill of Elrick Fish Farm and Trout Fishery

Mill of Elrick Trout Fishery is stocked with mainly Rainbow Trout and is situated just north of Ellon, Aberdeenshire, in the North East of Scotland. It has excellent facilities that cater for beginners, occasional fishers and experienced fly fishermen.

You can bait or fly fish and the loch is set up to encourage beginners and children to take up the sport and well stocked with predominantly pound sized rainbow trout.

Newburgh Angling Club

The Ythan Estuary provides a great deal of feeding for visiting and migrating sea trout and also to large colonies of Terns, and Eider Ducks.
It is a great pleasure to fish either from the bank or the boat in such an environment.
The club has open access to the local waters and boat fishing for sea trout in the estuary.
Newburgh Angling club has it's own self maintained boats with engines for use by club members.
All boat fishing members have to be trained in the use of small powered craft.

Newburgh Beach and Dunes

Starting at the mouth of the Ythan, Newburgh Beach lies at the North end of an uninterrupted 12 mile stretch of sand, backed by dunes, links courses, firing ranges and the odd house. Identified as a possible landing target for German forces based in Norway in WWII, the dunes are littered with old tank traps and pill boxes, all slowly being swallowed by the sand. Fascinating! (Vicki Waterman photo)

North East Open Studios

The North East Open Studios is a not for profit organisation promoting Arts and Crafts in the North East of Scotland. Local artists and crafters open their own studios to the public or exhibit together in shared venues like Haddo House.

The 2022 event has not yet been announced, but expect it to run in September. You'll find the 2021 Ellon trail map HERE and the full catalogue covering the whole of the North East HERE.

Newburgh on Ythan Golf Club

Newburgh-on-Ythan Golf Club is 2 miles north of Trump International Links Scotland, mid-way between Royal Aberdeen and Cruden Bay championship golf clubs, and is situated on the Ythan Estuary, overlooking the North Sea and Sands of Forvie National Nature Reserve.

The club was founded in 1888, and is a challenging par 72 Championship links course that demands accurate golf from tee to green. The clubhouse was opened in 2001 by the 1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie.

Old Slains Castle

A 13th century castle ruin on the cliff's edge between Collieston & Cruden Bay. It was the seat of Francis Hay, 9th Earl of Erroll, who was declared a rebel and a traitor after converting to Catholicism.

In 1594 the castle was destroyed by cannon and gunpowder on the orders of King James VI as punishment due to the suspicion that Hay was involved in a plot to capture him. Hay fled the country but returned secretly in 1596 when he rebuilt his castle, originally named “Bowness castle” and latterly the infamous “New Slains Castle”.

The ruins of its 8ft thick walls are now a scheduled ancient monument, which overlooks the sea from a peninsula of sheer rock. Access via the driveway is private but it can be viewed by walking the track over the cliffs.
(Photo by Seonaidh Baker)

Pitmedden Gardens

Home to both horticultural and artistic delights, the peaceful gardens house colourful parterres with over 30,000 plants, the Museum of Farming Life, waymarked woodland trails, seasonal events celebrating the crops and flowers produced there, the Stables Art gallery and outdoor theatre and music through the summer. Photo courtesy of NTS.

Prop of Ythsie

It's pronounced "icy" and it's a folly built in honour of George Hamilton Gordon, the Fourth Earl of Aberdeen, owner of Haddo House, Prime Minister during the Crimean War and reputedly the man who persuaded Queen Victoria to purchase the Balmoral Estate during a visit to Haddo. The Prop was raised in 1861 thanks to subscriptions raised by the tenants of the Haddo Estate. There are 92 steps to the castellated top, which offers extensive views of the surrounding countryside and villages. Below the Prop lies Druid Park, a field which is home to a stone circle, six standing stones known as the Druid Temple, around 3000 years old.

River Ythan

The Ythan rises at Wells of Ythan near the village of Ythanwells and flows south-eastwards through the towns of Fyvie, Methlick and Ellon before meeting the North Sea near Newburgh.

The lower reaches, known as the Ythan Estuary, pass through internationally famous conservation areas like the Sands of Forvie and Meikle Loch Special Protection Area, the breeding ground of the Common Tern, the Little Tern and the Sandwich Tern. The Ythan takes its time and so should you. Put your backpack down, take a break and enjoy a part of the British Isles where the birds make more noise than the traffic. Our thanks for this photomontage go to local nature photographers, Andy Leonard, Carron Wymers, Cassandra Stevens, Mandy Adams, Moira Turner, Ron McDonald and Sandra Hay.

Slains Castle

Slains Castle today is an unsettling place. It comes as no surprise that this imposing ruin, fronting directly onto cliffs east of Cruden Bay was one of the locations which inspired Bram Stoker in his creation of Dracula. Other distinguished visitors included Samuel Johnson and James Boswell on their tour of the Highlands and Islands. Undiscovered Scotland shares Johnson's description HERE, and Boswell's HERE.

South Ythsie Druid Stone Circle

There are 6 massive boulders arranged in a circle on a raised mound. This circle is very small in comparison to the others in the area and is still very mystifying. Well worth a visit, look for the signs. Some parking but not ideal.

Sustrans National Cycle Network

Search the national cycle network for routes within and through our area.

Tarves Heritage Project

Tarves Heritage Project aims to tell the story about the people from Tarves Village, Barthol Chapel

Tarves Tomb

The Forbes Tomb at Tarves was constructed for Sir William Forbes, laird of the newly-built Tolquhon Castle, in 1589. It was part of an aisle added to the medieval Tarves Kirk. The church and much of the aisle are now long gone, but the tomb still stands largely complete. Of particular interest are the portrait statuettes of Sir William and his wife, Lady Elizabeth. These remarkably lifelike images are as close as you’ll come to meeting a lord and lady of the time.

The Sand Bothy

Run by a Community Trust. Family friendly exhibitions, bookable space for your class, group, events and workshops, see inside The Sand Bothy, kiosk and The Sand Bothy merchandise for sale, Book your tickets for upcoming events at The Sand Bothy

The Ythan Fishery

The Newburgh Fishings is the most famous stretch of the River Ythan and is situated in the estuary. The number and size of the fish caught is impressive. Because it's in the estuary, the angler is not at the mercy of the elements (or sea-sickness), yet the fish are always present and can be caught throughout the summer months whatever the weather. The water is fished from both banks and boats, which have access to 17 pools.

Tolquhon Castle

Built in the 1580s for William Forbes around the 15th century Preston’s Tower, it still bears traces of the harling that once covered much of the castle. The drum tower sports a newly restored cap house (you’ll need a head for heights) and the courtyard is still used occasionally for military re-enactments. See if you can spot the initials of Thomas Leiper, the master mason who built the castle.

Trump International Golf Links

Embracing mile after mile of spectacular Aberdeenshire coastline, Scotland's championship links golf course and award-winning five-star resort features fine dining, luxury accommodaton, annual memberships and golf packages for visitors, tuition, spa treatments, clay pigeon shooting, riding on the beach and the Clavis Whisky Bar set against the backdrop of the beautiful McLeod House.

Visit Aberdeenshire Routes

Whether you prefer to ride on the road, explore a mountain bike trail or just a leisurely ride away from traffic, get on your bike in Aberdeenshire and venture into our great outdoors.

Waulkmill Hide, Forvie

Waulkmill hide is at Bridge of Forvie. Overlooking mudflats where the River Ythan begins to open out into the estuary, it offers great views of the wading birds.

Ythan Cycle Club

Ythan CC (pronounced as in 'python') is a cycle club serving the North Aberdeenshire area. We have a membership of around 140, varying from dedicated racers, time trialists, sportive riders, mountainbikers, triathletes, as well as tourists and occasional riders. The Club was founded in 1987 from the ashes of Ellon District Cycle Club, and prides itself on being a friendly organisation dedicated to helping people have fun on bikes whether they race or want to go for a pedal.

Ythan Estuary, Newburgh

This fine circular heads out along the bird-rich Ythan Estuary and through the dunes of the Forvie National Nature Reserve. It has a long beach section and also visits the ruins of Forvie Church - all that remains of a village destroyed by the sands. Dogs must be kept on leads and ensure you do not get too close or disturb any seals or ground-nesting birds - obey any signs. (Vicki Waterman photo)

Want to know more? Try the links below

Contact Us

We are a voluntary virtual team. Please contact us using the email below.




Aberdeenshire Council
Ythan Community Council
Visit Aberdeenshire


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