(036) Forvie Reserve-Hackley Bay Ramble (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
This walk offers a variety of environments: heath-land; rocky sea-cliffs; an isolated sandy cove; capped of with a visit to the pretty former fishing village of Collieston. The distance covered, and overall ascent, is moderate, and should suit walkers of all abilities.

Duration: 2.75 hours.


Route Overview
Duration: 2.75 hours.
Transport/Parking: The nearest public transport is the Stagecoach bus service that passes through Cruden Bay. Check timetable. It would be a 2 km walk from your drop-off point on the A975 to the start of the walk. There is a car-park at the start of the walk at the Forvie Visitor Centre.
Length: 7.550 km / 4.72 mi
Height Gain: 145 meter
Height Loss: 145 meter
Max Height: 46 meter
Min Height: 0 meter
Surface: Moderate. Mostly on good paths. Some sections may be muddy after wet weather.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Difficulty: Medium.
Dog Friendly: Yes. On lead on public roads and near to any farm livestock.
Refreshments: The Smuggler’s Cone cafe/ice cream vendor near the beach in Collieston. Closed during winter months. Open at weekends in summer months, every day during summer school holidays. Otherwise, Briggies (Newburgh Inn) in Newburgh, or The Barn cafe in Foveran.

This is a pleasant and varied ramble in the Forvie National Nature Reserve, through the wild coastal heath-land of Forvie Moor, meeting impressive cliffs that lead to an isolated and pristine bay beneath Hackley Head. Near the end of the walk there are wonderful views from the headland above the lower part of Collieston village to its harbour and little beach. The nature reserve covers almost 1,000 hectares of sand dunes and dune heath between the estuary of the River Ythan and Collieston. It is home to a rich variety of wildlife. In Spring, the sea cliffs are dotted with primroses, cowslips and butterwort. In Summer they are splashed with colour as pink-flowered thrift, sea campion, kidney vetch and purple northern marsh-orchid come into bloom. In Autumn, the moor is purple with blooming heather, dotted with succulent crowberry, and there is an abundance of fungi of all shapes, sizes and colours. In Winter, the lochs are home to overwintering waders. Hackley Bay, often described as a “hidden gem”, “perfect smugglers’ cove” and “beautiful sandy bay”, is a breath-taking focal point on the route, mid-way through the walk. In WW2, Forvie Moor was used to train soldiers in the use of grenades and mortars. Whilst soldiers were training there, the moor was off limits to locals. However, on Sundays, local people could use the moor to collect birds eggs and to hunt rabbits, to supplement their food rations. Collieston was well established as a fishing village by the 16th century as it provides the first safe harbour in over fifteen miles of beaches and dunes stretching north from Aberdeen. Fishing for herring, haddock, whiting and cod flourished in the 17th century and 18th century and the village became known for “Collieston Speldings”, salted and sun-dried haddock and whiting, a popular delicacy well-known throughout Britain. Today, the village is a commuter base and holiday home destination.

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


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