Bennachie Mountain Biking and Cycle Trails
Bennachie (pronounced ben-a-hee) is probably the best known hill range in the north east of Scotland, though most people refer to the most prominent hill on the range, Mither Tap, as Bennachie. The iconic shape of the hill, visible for miles around have led to Bennachie being referred to as "The most loved hill in Britain".
The Bennachie range is home to a hillfort, ancient myths and legends, hidden heritage, modern sculptures, fascinating wildlife, a visitor centre and an extensive network of signposted paths and trails.
The forestry trails and lower paths around the visitor centre offer excellent routes for both mountain bikes and gravel cyclists, and they are definitely worth a visit; especially for kids and the less experienced mountain biker. More experienced mountain bikers will be interested in the trails that go up the steep sides of the Bennachie range and across the plateau - see our page on the Turnpike Trail.
Bennachie Trails Descriptions
Bennachie and the its neighbouring hills offer loads of trails, some way marked and some not. The family friendly cycle routes are all signposted and easy to navigate:
Accessed from the Bennachie visitor centre this 4km circular route passes the ruins of a crofting community that once farmed the local land but were evicted by the local lairds. The Bailies of Bennachie, a registered charity that aims to encourage and stimulate the public's interest in Bennachie, have produced an interesting leaflet on the Colonists which includes a map of the trail.
Accessed from the Bennachie visitor centre the Discovery trail is ideal for the younger members of the family.
It is a 1km circular trail with gentle slopes that meanders around the base of Mither Tap. There are wildlife rubbing posts dotted along the trail and crayons and paper can be picked up at the visitor centre.
This trail is very popular with walkers.
Accessed from the Back O'Bennachie car park, this 2km circular trail passes through pine and larch woodland, dotted with sculptures along the way. Some of the inclines are on the steep side.
Working Wood Trail
Also accessed from the Back O'Bennachie car park, this 2½km circular trail has interpretive boards along the way explaining the life cycle of trees and the products they provide.
Accessed from either the Bennachie visitor centre or the Rowan Tree car park. Out and back on the same route covering 6½km in total. This low level route follows the line of the old turnpike road through the Pittodrie Estate joining the visitor centre and Rowantree carpark. Relatively easy though it does have some challenging inclines with rough surfaces. Not recommended for the very young or complete beginner.
Facilities at Bennachie and Nearby
£3 for all day parking at Bennachie Visitor centre, £2 at Back O'Bennachie.
At the visitor centre during daylight hours and at Back O'Bennachie car park
Drinks and snacks available at the visitor centre.
If you think we have missed something in our guide to the child friendly Bennachie cycle trails then let us know. Contact details are on the link at the bottom of the page.
Getting to Bennachie Visitor Centre
Bennachie Visitor Centre (Grid Ref. NJ660245) is open 10am to 5pm every day from Easter through to the end of October. Travel north from Inverurie on the A96. Approximately two miles beyond Inverurie take a road on the left sign posted to Chapel of Garioch. At Chapel of Garioch turn left (sign posted to the Bennachie Centre). Follow this road for two miles, and the Visitor Centre is sign posted to the right. AB51 5HY is the nearest postcode if you are using Sat Nav.
Getting to Back O'Bennachie
Back O'Bennachie (Grid Ref. NJ661245). Travel north from Inverurie on the A96 for approximately ten miles. At the "Oyne Fork", turn left onto the B9002, sign posted Insch. Pass through Oyne village, and turn left up to the Back O'Bennachie car park (sign posted) at the far end of the village. AB52 6RH is the nearest postcode if you are using Sat Nav.
Other Child Friendly Cycle Routes Nearby
The Deeside Way
The Deeside Way is a 41 mile long, disused railway line that runs from Aberdeen to Ballater. With loads of ways to get on to the Deeside Way your cycle can be as long, or as short as you want making it ideal for cycling, and especially family cycling.
The Isla Way
The Isla Way is a 13 mile cycle route and walking path joining the world's malt whisky capital, Dufftown, to the market town of Keith. It follows the River Isla for much of its way using a mixture of tracks, paths and public roads.
The Tarland Way
The Tarland Way is a family friendly 6 mile route joining the historic village of Tarland with the bustling town of Aboyne. A great combination of purpose built path, and quiet country roads through the Howe of Cromar.
The Formartine & Buchan Way
A long distance cycle route and walking path running from Dyce railway station through rural Aberdeenshire along the route of the former Formartine and Buchan Railway Line, with links to Peterhead and Fraserburgh.
Books from Amazon
The Parent's Guide to Safe Cycling