Masterplan being drawn up on the future of Aberdeen’s woods

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Outdoor enthusiasts will be canvassed on their hopes for the future of Aberdeen’s woodland areas as part of a new study.

The Forestry Commission has put out a contract, worth about £8,000, for a firm to carry out research into ways to make the city’s woods more visitor-friendly.

Picturesque spots like Countesswells, Tyrebagger, Kirkhill and Foggieton woods are already popular destinations.

The region’s community and visitor services manager, Dan Cadle, however, says the “visitor experience plan” will help dictate the work the commission performs at the sites in the coming years.

Mr Cadle added: “This will be a learning tool for us, which will direct our efforts over the next five to 10 years.

“These woods are already heavily used. Countesswells alone has 20,000 visitors every year.

“However, we want to survey and engage with people to find out whether these woods deliver what they want and to find out what may be preventing some people from using them.”

Mr Cadle said ensuring the woods appeal to a “wide variety of people” was one of the main incentives of the plan.

A similar study at Bennachie five years ago led to the commission investing in footpaths and benches to make the walk to the top of the hill easier for people of all ages.

It also saw a camera installed at the summit, broadcasting its spectacular views over the internet.

Mr Cadle added: “The public are our audience and we need to find ways of making sure their voices are heard.”

It is anticipated that the plan will be drawn together over the next six months, with details on how to take part emerging in the near future.