A popular Deeside walk damaged in winter storms could reopen within weeks – if walkers stay away for now.
Scolty Woods, near Banchory, have been shut following storms Arwen, Malik, Corrie and Barra.
Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) teams are hard at work clearing fallen trees and make sure the area is safe.
But walkers are hampering the effort by ignoring the closure signs – forcing machines to stop.
Now FLS has said if visitors stay away for a few more weeks, a route up to Scolty Hill will be able to reopen within two or three weeks.
FLS‘s visitor services manager Fiona Robertson urged people to stay away in the meantime.
“We understand that people want to enjoy the great weather and enjoy a relaxing, soothing stroll in the woods but arriving at a destination that is closed because of storm damage is not helping anyone,” she said.
“The amount of damage that we have had to deal with at a number of locations is taxing our resources but we are making steady progress.
“We’re aiming to re-open enough of the woods to allow safe access to Scolty Hill within two to three weeks but this is not going to happen if we are continually having to stop work.”
Some other trails and car parks will remain closed until the health and safety risk from fallen trees and storm debris is cleared and forest access made safe.
Members of the public are advised to always check the FLS destination pages for the latest updates on which forests in the area are open.