|Hazlehead Park via Den Wood
This is a circular route starting from Cults Hotel, mainly on paths (some can be muddy), but involving two or three short sections on vehicular roads where care is required, especially if you have children and/or dogs with you, as there are no pavements. The route passes the cafe in Hazlehead Park and the charity coffee shop “Somebody Cares”, where refreshments are available.
An alternative starting point could be Friarsfield Road.
Terrain: Paths, tracks, roads – see text.
Distance: 5.2 miles; 8.3 km.
Time: Allow 2½ hours.
Waymarked: Yes – yellow (not in Hazlehead Park).
Cults Hotel to Hazlehead Park
From Cults Hotel go up the narrow road leading past the public bar to a small parking area. At the end take a path leading to the right up Cults Den towards Friarsfield Road. At the top turn right and walk along Friarsfield Road until you reach Friarsfield Park, opposite the end of the CALA Housing development, and turn left here to go up a tree-lined track leading to Craigton Road. On a clear day there is a good view from here of Clachnaben, Mount Battock and other hills out to the west.
Turn right on to Craigton Road and walk along as far as a right-hand bend where two tracks lead off to the left; take the first left hand track which goes between fields with horses past Newton Cottage to Countesswells Road. Cross this road with care (fast moving traffic) and go along the road signed “Private Road”. A very short way along this road there is a disabled parking area on the right from where a well-surfaced path leads off, signposted “Den Wood Trail”. From this point most paths are well signposted and there are several alternative routes.
Our suggested route is to follow the path marked “Den Wood Trail” to a junction where you bear right and then follow the path signposted “Hazlehead Park” through mature beech woods until you reach a tarred road.
Cross this road and then turn left on a path signposted “Cults via Den Wood”. This path runs alongside the road with playing fields on your right. When you reach a path junction, just beyond the Charity Shop/Cafe called “Somebody Cares”, turn right and follow a path with large beech trees on both sides until you reach Hazlehead café.
To continue the walk from the cafe, take the wide path heading west past the Piper Alpha Memorial Garden and the Queen Mother Rose Garden to reach a gate exiting the park. From the gate go straight on in the same direction on a wide walled track signposted “Anderson Wood”; the track crosses part of the golf course and when you reach a T-junction, turn left onto the path signposted “Den Wood and Cults”. Follow this path straight on until you reach another signposted junction, where you turn right following the sign saying “Cults”. This takes you across Countesswells Road and down Craigton Road to a sharp left-hand bend beside the former Waldorf School. Again, there is no pavement on this road section of the walk so care should be taken. Turn right at the Waldorf School and go along a private road. This road turns left at a house called Ellen Gowan. Follow it down through Sunnyside Stables to the main Road, Kirk Brae; you can turn left here to follow the road down to Friarsfield and the top of Cults Den and hence to Cults Hotel. Initially on Kirk Brae a short section with no pavement, then a very narrow pavement, which can be busy with traffic at times; however there is a new path following the burn on the Friarsfield estate.