This large estate is part of the core area of the Cairngorms, internationally recognised as the most important nature conservation landscape in the British Isles.
Owned by the National Trust for Scotland, Mar Lodge Estate is a Highland estate set in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park near Braemar in Aberdeenshire, and is internationally recognised as the most important nature conservation landscape in the British Isles.
Covering 29,000 hectares of some of the most remote and wild land in Scotland, the estate incorporates 15 Munros (mountains which exceed 914 m) and contains four of the five highest mountains in the UK. Some 17,500 acres lie within the Cairngorms National Park, with large parts of the estate designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the majority of it contained within National Scenic Areas (NSAs).
The estate is rich in varied habitats to explore ranging from forest to upland and rivers, and includes the upper watershed of the River Dee - an important spawning ground for spring-run salmon as well as remnant Caledonian pine forest, which is home to red squirrels, pine martens, wood ants and birds such as the black grouse, Scottish crossbill, parrot crossbill, which are all rare and absent in many parts of the UK but found in abundance here. There are also the Quoich wetlands, a main area for breeding waders, otters and water voles.
The outstanding wildlife and birdlife on this prime example of a Highland estate are characteristic of the northern mountainous area of Britain. In the montane zone you’ll find important breeding populations of dotterel, snow bunting and ptarmigan, while the heather moorland provides shelter and food for important populations of waders and raptors. The Cairngorms is also the largest area of arctic alpine flora in Britain.
An interesting fact:
2015 sees the return of the BBC Winterwatch wildlife show to the estate. Read more on our blog.
Mar Lodge estate is 3 miles west of Braemar, in Aberdeenshire.
Access from A93 via unclassified road to Linn of Dee Ordnance Survey Ref: NO096899
Stagecoach Bluebird service numbers 201, 202 and 203 (Aberdeen - Banchory - Torphins - Aboyne - Ballater - Braemar) all stop at Braemar. (These services also stop at Crathes Castle and Drum Castle.)
There are, however, no public transport services from Braemar to the Mar Lodge Estate.
Aberdeen bus station is just a couple of minutes’ walk from Aberdeen railway station. From Aberdeen bus station (65 miles away from Mar Lodge), take any of the services detailed above to Braemar.
Sitting within the stunning Cairngorms National Park, there is a huge variety of low-level and high-level walks in and around Braemar.