The Out About Scotland complete guide to The Birks of Aberfeldy
What’s this attraction all about?
The Birks of Aberfeldy, located near the town of Aberfeldy in Perthshire, offers a beautiful short walk that takes visitors on a circular route through mature woodland that’s covered this part of Central Scotland for over 8000 years.
The woods are comprised of a wide variety of trees with the predominant species belonging to oak, ash, elm, and of course, the birks (which are actually birch trees), and there’s a huge amount of birdlife to keep a watchful eye out for as well.
This area of natural beauty has such a vast amount of plantlife that it’s been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and modern-day visitors can enjoy the natural splendour of the place just as Robert Burns did over 200 years ago thanks to the path that rings the woodland in a route that runs for just over two miles.
At the far end of the walk lies The Falls of Moness, the thundering waterfall that crashes down 150 metres into the Moness gorge below, and from here all the way to the start of the walk you’ll pass several smaller waterfalls that flow into the Moness Burn.
The well-defined path following the burn is overhung with a dense canopy of trees, and as it rises up to over 150 metres it offers fantastic panoramic views from several viewing platforms which are a glorious place to be at any time of the year. No wonder Scotland’s national poet was so fond of the place.Read more...
Although the walk is mostly laid out on a heavily trodden path there are several areas that get very muddy in winter, so if you’re visiting in the wetter months make sure you’ve got your boots on. It’s quite an easy walk, stretching to just over 2 miles in total which should only take you 1 to 2 hours to complete, but bear in mind you’ll want to stop and admire the views all the way around so plan to take longer.
The ascent to the Falls of Moness is straightforward as there’s only one path to follow and the steeper sections have wooden steps and handrails installed, but even so these sections aren’t practical for anyone with a disability. If you really want to follow in Burn’s footsteps and you think you might struggle on the steeper parts you can still enjoy 90% of the Birks of Aberfeldy by sticking to the lower areas.
You begin the walk from the Birks car park and it’s shortly after this point where you’ll see some information panels about both the woodland and the bard himself, with a couple of nearby sculptures of the great man if you fancy taking some selfies with him.
The lower part of the woodland is still full of birch trees just as it would have been in Burn’s time and there are some very picturesque waterfalls alongside the path as you head toward the Moness gorge. Although this bit of the walk is easy-going it soon turns into an incline, but luckily the steeper sections have handrails fitted and there are wooden bridges installed in places where you’d otherwise be crossing the river.
Shortly after the first of these bridges is a natural shelf of rock that’s believed to have been the place where Burns took a rest to admire the scenery when he visited. There’s a small plaque here to commemorate the occasion so it might be the perfect opportunity to take another Burns-themed selfie or just enjoy the serenity of the woods before heading to the half-way point.
The rest of the path zigzags up an incline towards the Falls of Moness and it won’t be long before you catch sight of the highest section of the waterfall through a clearing in the undergrowth, and following the path will take you to the mid-point of the walk which is the wooden footbridge crossing the 150 meter-high falls.
The roaring white water makes for a fantastic photograph and looking ahead from this point you’ll get some extraordinary views over to the Strathtay conservation area.
The remainder of the walk doubles back in the same direction you came, only this time you’ll be on the opposite side of the gorge. Because this half of the path is on a much higher ravine you’ll get some beautiful views across the Perthshire countryside and on a clear day you’ll even be able to see the rising peaks of Ben Vrackie in the distance.
The Birks of Aberfeldy is a short walk to be sure, but it’s also one of the prettiest in Perthshire
Robert Burns poem: The Birks of Aberfeldy
What I liked about this attraction
- What a lovely walk. Best visited in Summer, but good all year round
- It’s easy and quite short so it’s perfect for a Sunday stroll
- It’s great to see this ancient woodland so well maintained
What I didn’t like about this attraction
- There are a fair few muddy sections in winter – wear boots!
Birks Of Aberfeldy,
- Telephone: NA
- email: email@example.com
- Website: Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust
Prices and opening times
The Birks of Aberfeldy walk is open 24/7, 365 days a year.
The woodland is free to enter but car parking charges may apply.