The Forres area abounds with walking routes, as does the whole of Moray. This is outdoor country and people come here just to walk the Moray Ways and take in the clean, fresh air. Whether it’s a stroll after dinner, or a more challenging mountain hike, there’s a wide range of routes to suit. And with a weather pattern that seems to repel the worst of the elements (most of the time), you’ll have no excuse to get that step-count up.
Forres is recognised by the ‘Walkers are Welcome’ scheme, which is a nationwide initiative to highlight places which are welcoming to walkers. Forres is recognised by this scheme of over 100 accredited towns and villages in the UK that support economic, physical, health and mental well-being through walking.
In and around the town, the Forres Footpaths Trust have created a number of waymarked routes that take in some local attractions and landmarks as well as highlighting other things of local interest such as engineering and military interest.
Most of these walks are detailed on the trust’s website, where you can choose from:
- Mosset Walk
- Town Walk
- Grant Park/Cluny Hill
- River Findhorn
- Shorter river walk
- Califer and Rafford
- Culbin East
- Burn o’ Mosset and Altyre Burn
- Aircraft and Military
- Forres Engineering
See the Forres Footpaths Trust website for more details.
Most of these walks also have geocaches on them, and while some of them are waymarked with posts, not all of them are.
As if a testimony to the prevalence of walking here, an annual walking festival takes place in June.
The Moray Walking and Outdoor Festival brings together Moray’s finest treks and offers guided walks with a touch of added entertainment.
The walking festival set out as a few walks spread over three days, and by 2018 was hosting 60 events over 10 days, and many of these events sold out weeks in advance.
It is now one of Scotland’s principal outdoor activity festivals. This year, the events are split into June and September.
16th-23rd June 2021
16th-22nd September 2021
See Moray Walking Festival events, and if anything appeals, be quick as they do sell out fast.
If you don’t know what geocaching is, it’s a worldwide game where people hide mini boxes of valueless treasures, coins, trinkets, keepsakes, etc) usually in plastic sandwich boxes and hide them in the countryside. They are marked on a ‘geocache map’ and people follow clues to find them. Once found, you can record their find in the lunchbox by adding your username to the note and swap an item with one of their own.
The game is suitable for adults or children and sometimes draws you to exciting or interesting places. It’s a healthy pastime as it involves walking, and it’s also educational, fun for the kids, and if you get involved with the community, it can take you to new places. Geocaching meet-ups happen all over the world.
Geocaching has taken a bit of hit during the pandemic, but we have a geocaching pack to lend for anyone that’s interested in giving it a go. The pack includes a GPS locator, pen and paper as well as a few items you can leave or swap.
See geocaching.com for more details
If you want to walk further, Forres is the starting point for the Dava Way, a 22-mile track to Grantown-on-Spey, following the old railway track across the Dava Moor. It’s ranked as one of Scotland’s Great Walks and has many information boards along the way. The line was closed in the 1960s, and volunteers work tirelessly to maintain the track and improve accessibility.
As a former railway line, it is flat and fairly easy going. There has been a lot of work done to maintain the paths however there are some wet and muddy patches.
If you’re really fit, you can walk the whole route in one session.
Watch out for wildlife, there’s plenty to see. You’re crossing the wilderness of the Dava Moor where there is little in the way of human disturbance.
And anyone with an interest in wild flowers will have a slow walk!
See the davaway.org.uk for more details
Moray Coast Trail and Speyside Way
The Dava Way conveniently connects to two other ‘great walks’ the Moray Coast Trail and the Speyside Way, forming a 100-mile triangular path through the Moray landscape.
Each of these walks provides a different experience and while you don’t have to walk them from end-to-end, they are a great way to dip into the countryside and sample the landscape and history of the area.
These three trails really highlight the diversity of Moray Speyside. While the Dava Way heads through the barren remoteness of the Dava Moor, the Coastal Trail dips in and out of the coastline which is a mix of rocky outcrops, sandy beaches and hidden coves; and the Speyside Way tracks the path of least resistance for one of Scotland’s most famous river.
See morayways.org.uk for more details
Beat your own path
But of course you don’t have to stick to the path. There are plenty of deviations you can take, and while there will always be a beaten path to well-known spots and landmarks, choosing your own route takes you to places less well known and unexplored which is just as rewarding.
Other walking resources
There are numerous sites which detail walks around Forres and Moray