(059) Woodhead-Windy Hills Circular (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
This is an excellent short walk through very pleasant and quiet natural woodland. There are no steep slopes, making for easy walking. The area is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the underlying quartzite gravels from an ancient river-bed.

Duration: 2 hours.

Route Overview
Duration: 2 hours.
small mapTransport/Parking: There is no public transport service to Woodhead. Park in the Woodhead Community Centre car-park at the start/end of walk.
Length: 5.51 km / 3.42 mi
Height Gain: 77 meter
Height Loss: 77 meter
Max Height: 130 meter
Min Height: 108 meter
Surface: Moderate. Mostly good woodland paths and rough, grassy roads. Some sections may be muddy.
Child Friendly: Yes, if used to walks of this distance.
Difficulty: Easy.
Dog Friendly: Yes, on lead on public roads and near farm animals.
Refreshments: There are options at Methlick and Fyvie.

Description
This is a very enjoyable walk, mostly in open mature pine woods and through mossy heather, but with some areas overlooking farmland, where there are good views of the surrounding rural scene. Woodhead and Windyhills is a geological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), lying to the north and east of the village of Woodhead, between Methlick and Fyvie, where semi natural pine woodland forms a lovely natural cover for underlying quartzite gravels. The SSSI is the location for quartzite pebbles and gravels that, together with flint gravels, form a unique set of deposits often known as the ‘Pliocene’ gravels of Buchan. They are river deposits which accumulated during the Neogene (between 23 and 2.6 million years ago). It is understood that Windy Hills is of exceptional importance in providing a uniquely long record of some of the geological processes and environmental conditions which have shaped the Scottish landscape over the last 20 million years or so. Information on the geological history of the SSSI is provided on information boards at the quarry at Waypoint 14. The area provides some excellent walks through very pleasant quiet woodland. There are no steep slopes, making for easy walking. Despite evidence of previous quarrying (and associated dumping of vehicles), the environment is mostly very natural. The walk starts in the car park behind the community centre in Woodhead, where interpretation panels show the lay-out of the woods and some of the wildlife that can be seen. Thanks to the Formartine Partnership for much of the information noted above: (http://www.formartinepartnership.org.uk/walking-in-formartine). Thanks, also, to Scottish Natural Heritage for the SSSI detail: https://sitelink.nature.scot/site/1642

Links:
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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