A mostly easy walk in a woodland and parkland setting with one ascent to the fine Craigfall viewpoint. Leith Hall is an attractive focal point on the route with beautiful ponds and a bird hide close-by. At the end of the walk, the extensive gardens make for an impressive finale.
Duration: 3 hours.
Duration: 3 hours.
Transport/Parking: There is no public transport for Leith Hall. Leith Hall is off the B9002, 1 mile west of Kennethmont and 34 miles north-west of Aberdeen. Leith Hall NTS car-park (charges apply for non-members).
Length: 7.170 km / 4.48 mi
Height Gain: 171 meter
Height Loss: 171 meter
Max Height: 259 meter
Min Height: 177 meter
Surface: Moderate. Mostly very good surfaced paths and estate roads. A little rougher on the ascent and descent from the Craigfall viewpoint (Waypoint 6).
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Dog Friendly: Yes, but keep dogs on lead near to any livestock.
Refreshments: There is a small tea-room in Leith Hall. (for opening times etc, see: https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/leith-hall/planning-your-visit)
This is a delightfully varied walk near the village of Kennethmont, on the parkland estate surrounding the charmingly eye-catching Scottish country house, Leith Hall, owned and managed by the National Trust for Scotland. It started life as a tower house built in about 1650 and was subsequently developed by the Leith-Hay family over the following couple of centuries. Understandably, it is sometimes described as looking like a French chateau! The walk initially ascends into Larch Wood before climbing to a great vantage point at Craigfall, with wonderful open views to the Bennachie range, the Correen Hills, the Tap and Hill of Noth, and further on a clear day. Descending to walk around the interesting and attractive Leith Hall building itself, the route then takes in an old “gallows tree”, two beautiful pond areas, and a bird hide at the smaller pond. After visiting an old ice house, the path continues over the Aberdeen/Inverness railway line through mature mixed woodland to more open parkland scenery backed by the surrounding hills. On the return towards Leith Hall a visit is made to a peaceful and sheltered old country cemetery. In the final section of the walk we explore the fantastic walled gardens of Leith Hall. This extensive garden area is set on a south-facing slope, with a number of different sections, each sheltered by a wall or hedge and each with its own distinctive character. The gardens contain a famous rockery, ornamental trees and flowering shrubs, perennial beds, a catmint walk, roses, fruit, vegetables and ornamental grasses. At the highest pointing in the garden there is a shelter with old stones used in the farming industry in times gone by. Between there and the delightful 18th century curved stables, is the circular “Moon Gate” leading to the old turnpike road, once the main thoroughfare to Aberdeen.