(160) Aboyne-River Dee-Bell Wood-Belwade Circuit (Aberdeenshire)

Route Summary
The route provides a very enjoyable and scenic mix of walking environments taking in the banks of the River Dee, a mature pine wood, and open pasture for horses, with wide-open and long-distance views.

Duration: 3.75 hours.

Route Overview
Duration: 3.75 hours.
Transport/Parking: Frequent Stagecoach bus services along the A93 Deeside route. Check timetables. Free parking in the car-park off the A93, close to the walk start/end point, or in Station Square.
Length: 11.010 km / 6.88 mi
Height Gain: 141 meter.
Height Loss: 141 meter.
Max Height: 173 meter.
Min Height: 113 meter.
Surface: Moderate. Good paths, forest and farm roads throughout. A short section on pavement at the start of the walk, and a bit longer in the final section.
Difficulty: Medium.
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Dog Friendly: Yes, but keep dogs on lead on public roads and on the mid-section through Belwade Farm and its surrounding fields.
Refreshments: Options in Aboyne.

Description
Slightly longer than our normal distance, this is a very varied circuit, never far from the River Dee, where the gradual ups and downs are hardly felt. The route passes the very pleasant centre of the village, by Charleston Green, before taking an extended wander downstream along the banks of the River Dee. Passing a fishers’ hut, the route then heads away from the river, making for the mature conifers of Bell Wood on the eastern outskirts of Aboyne. This extensive woodland is popular with walkers and cyclists although you are unlikely to find yourself in a crowd! Leaving the forest, the route then takes an amble around the southern perimeter of Belwade Farm before passing through the equine centre onto an open track with excellent views of the Deeside valley and surrounding hills. The return is mostly through Bell Wood, some of which is being regenerated with natural broadleaf trees, with a short section at the edge of the wood on the Old Deeside Road, now a farm track, before a pleasant stroll through the residential areas to the east of the village centre. Any walk around and about the large Deeside village of Aboyne offers many opportunities to enjoy views of the pleasant Strathdee countryside. With its large open “green” at the centre, and well-preserved and re-vitalised railway station square, the settlement has a very relaxed ambience, making it particularly popular with summer visitors. As noted above, the mid section of our walk meanders through tracks on Belwade Farm. The farm is the Scottish Home for World Horse Welfare, rehabilitating horses, ponies and donkeys from all over the UK. As at July 2021 the visitor centre and café/restaurant are closed due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

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

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