(102) Kemnay-Fetternear-Cot-town Wood Circuit (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
An easy ramble through broadleaf and pine woods, punctuated by areas of mixed farmland. Fetternear has links to the mediaeval city of Aberdeen and, later, to the Leslie Clan. The walk passes by the ruins of the House of Fetternear, built upon the earlier Bishop’s Palace.

Duration: 2.5 hours.


Route Overview
Duration: 2.5 hours.
Transport/Parking: Stagecoach provides a bus service from Inverurie to Kemnay. Check timetables. There is a small rough surfaced car-park at the walk start/finish. Beware deep potholes on access road!
Length: 7.680 km / 4.80 mi
Height Gain: 135 meter.
Height Loss: 135 meter.
Max Height: 149 meter.
Min Height: 82 meter.
Surface: Moderate. A short section on a tarred private road. Otherwise, a mix of rough estate roads and good paths. May be muddy in places.
Difficulty: Easy.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance.
Dog Friendly: Yes. On lead on public roads and near farm animals.
Refreshments: Options in Kemnay, Monymusk and Inverurie.

This is an enjoyable little hike in mixed woodland interspersed with rolling farmland on part of the ancient Fetternear Estate, on the outskirts of Kemnay, in the Garioch area of Aberdeenshire. The ups and downs along the way account for an overall ascent of 135 m, but the gradients are so gentle that this is hardly noticeable. The route is never far from the River Don and, in the mid-section offers some fine views of the Bennachie range, with the eastern profile of the Mither Tap particularly prominent. The historical focal point on the route is the ruin of the House of Fetternear (signposted “Bishop’s Palace”), which was destroyed by fire in 1919. The lands of Fetternear were owned by the mediaeval Bishops of Aberdeen, and the original building was a Bishop’s Palace, built by Bishop Ramsay of Aberdeen in 1226 as a summer retreat, and later extended in 1330. The earliest of the ruins still standing, however, originate from 1566, after the ownership transferred to John Leslie, 8th Baron Balquhain. Additions to the structure were made at various later dates, most notably by Count Patrick Leslie, who was responsible for the 1693-dated armorial panel over the central doorway incorporating his honorary coronet as a Count of the Holy Roman Empire, an important figure in the Counter-Reformation. See: https://canmore.org.uk/site/18684/fetternear-house-old-house-of-fetternear-and-bishops-palace . At a later point on the walk, the route diverts to the riverbank in order to visit the remnants of St Ninian’s Chapel. The present ruins date from 1878, when a new chapel was built directly on the ancient foundations enclosing the Leslie tombs. The ancient parish church, dedicated to St Ninian, dated from the 12th C. A map of 1769 showed it standing in its church-yard and its walls still stood to a height of four feet in the mid-19th century. See: https://canmore.org.uk/event/669605

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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