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David Douglas character with local school children

David Douglas Memorial

The Sitka spruce, introduced by David Douglas, grows prolifically in Scotland as a timber tree.

Birks of Aberfeldy

The valley in which the Birks lies was shaped during the ice age, with the river Tay running through its centre. It contains one of the tributaries of the Tay – the Moness Burn – and the site has been a scenic walk for more than two centuries.


Water fall at the upper Birks of Aberfeldy © PKCT

Originally known as the Den of Moness, the Birks acquired the recent name thanks to the song penned by Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns in August 1787.

The braes ascend like lofty wa's.
The foaming stream deep-roaring fa's
O'erhung wi' fragrant spreading shaws
The Birks of Aberfeldy

from The Birks o’ Aberfeldie by Robert Burns

The Birks owes its popularity, at least in part, to Burns, who is said to have found inspiration whilst resting in a small, naturally formed seat in the rock at the side of the gorge.

Much of the gorge is designated as a Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its botanical interest and it is likely that there has been continual woodland cover for up to 8,000 years. In common with The Hermitage and the Falls of Bruar, the site was managed as a woodland garden with viewpoints and summer houses from the 18th century onwards.

The site was gifted to the Town Council in 1914 and later came into the care of Perth and Kinross Council.

Follow in the footsteps of the bard through the Birks – Scots for birch trees (Betula pendula) – which still cloak the steep slopes of the Moness gorge, along with oak (Quercus robur), ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and elm (Ulmus).

Divided into two sections, the first walk through the Lower Birks begins just off the town square on the road to Kenmore and follows a tree trail, as planted by Bobby Masterton, Cluny House Gardens, in the early 1960s, containing a wide range of exotic specimen trees.

The longer Upper Birks walk begins on the other side of the A826 road to Crieff from the carpark. The narrow path climbs to a bridge directly above the Falls of Moness, one of the most accessible waterfalls in Big Tree Country, providing spectacular views into the gorge.


West from the centre of Aberfeldy or access west off the A9 along the A827 to Aberfeldy.


The site benefits from the close proximity to Aberfeldy town centre for toilet and refreshment facilities.

Public Transport

Take the bus to Aberfeldy.

The main car park serving the site has considerable capacity and has numerous picnic tables.

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