(006) Ythan Estuary and Forvie Sands Circular (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
This is a gentle but very rewarding walk in the Forvie Nature Reserve. The views of the estuary, dunes, heath-land and beach are marvellous at every turn. On the return leg there is a short diversion to the remains of the medieval village of Forvie, lost to the shifting sands.

Duration: 2 hours


Route Overview
Duration: 2 hours.
Transport/Parking: Stagecoach bus service to Newburgh and Cruden Bay. Check their timetable. Forvie Nature Reserve car-park just over the Ythan Bridge, on the A975 Newburgh to Cruden Bay.
Length: 5.960 km / 3.73 mi
Height Gain: 72 meter  Height Loss: 72 meter
Max Height: 30 meter  Min Height: 0 meter
Surface: Moderate. Slow going on short sandy sections.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Difficulty: Easy.
Dog Friendly: Keep dogs on lead and on the path. Dogs are free to exercise on the beach, under close control. Pick up, bag and remove any mess!
Refreshments: Newburgh Inn. Barn cafe, in nearby Foveran.

This is an easy walk with gentle little ups and downs over the distance. On the initial section there are great views of the Ythan Estuary, over to the attractive village of Newburgh and its golf-course, and of the farmland beyond. Near the start of the walk an open-air information point provides lots of interesting facts about the history of the area and the special environmental aspects. In addition to its wider scientific interest for flora and fauna, the Forvie National Nature Reserve is home to the largest colony of eider ducks in the UK and one of the largest UK populations of migratory Antarctic terns. A large grey seal community, up to 1,000 strong, also hauls up on the beaches of the Reserve. The next section of the walk crosses a wide grassy dunes area with imposingly high, ever-shifting sandy dunes to the south. The walk mid-section is over a long and wide (tide-dependent, for how wide!) golden sandy beach, making for the rocky headland of Rockend. On the return section, over grassy dunes, heath-land and farmland, the route diverts to the site of the ancient village of Forvie, overwhelmed by drifting sands in the 15th Century. The ruined walls of the 12th Century church remain. Here, the walker can reflect on whether the village was lost to a catastrophic storm in 1413, or the fabled curse of a local woman cheated out of her inheritance by her greedy uncle, a resident of the village. See also: https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/aberdeenshire/ythan-estuary.shtml

Photos from walk
Download Route Guide  (PDF with illustrated Waypoints)
Download GPX file  (GPS Exchange Format)
Access Walk on OutdoorActive
Access Walk on OSMaps
Access Walk on AllTrails
Access Walk on Wikiloc  

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