Wild South Esk Trail – 5 Day

No. of Days





  • Coast and Waters
  • Nature and Wildlife

Highlights and Delights

Explore the 50-mile Wild South Esk trail, home to some of the most exciting wildlife in Scotland.

  • Day 1 - Explore the Locations

    • Glen Doll
    • Loch Brandy

    Location 1: Glen Doll

    Our first stop on the Wild South Esk trail will take you to Glen Doll. One of the stunning Angus Glens, Glen Doll is hugely popular with walkers and has a range of trails to explore. The White Water, which flows through Glen Doll, joins the River South Esk at Braedownie.

    One of the four marked trails at Glen Doll will take you to Corrie Fee, an impressive amphitheatre carved into the rocks by a glacier some 12,000 years ago. The corrie is a truly impressive sight not to be missed.

    Watch out for Golden Eagle and rare alpine plants including dwarf willow and blue sow thistle at this location.

    Golden Eagle

    Image Credit – ©Lorne Gill/SNH

    Location 2: Loch Brandy

    Your second stop for day two is Loch Brandy, located high in the hills that border Glen Clova. The loch is typical of the remote pools that dot Cairngorm mountains.

    Look out for mountain hare high on the hills – the elusive wildcat spend the summer months in the cooler upland areas too. The loch is also home to hydra. These tiny creatures have tentacles armed with stinging cells that paralyse worms and tiny crustaceans before eating them.

    At the end of day one, why not enjoy a relaxing stay at the Glen Clova Hotel? The hotel has 18 elegant bedrooms, 9 luxury lodges, two restaurants and a bar serving delicious local produce – perfect after a day of exploring.

    Loch Brandy
  • Day 2 - Explore the Locations

    • Gella Bridge
    • Glen Prosen

    Location 1: Gella Bridge

    After a great night’s sleep, it’s time to head downstream to Glen Clova, another of the Angus Glens. This glen is a ten-mile-long U-shaped valley following the course of the River South Esk. Here you will find Gella Bridge, a picturesque spot great for picnicking.

    The river feels very different here as it leaves the narrower Glens and joins a large farmland floodplain bordered by hills covered in heather moorland.

    This part of the river’s catchment is home to many species of wading birds who breed in the Angus Glens over the summer months, where humans aren’t too active. Watch out for dipper as well as salmon leaping in the river at this location.

    Glen Clova Gella Bridge

    Location 2: Glen Prosen

    Your second stop for today is Glen Prosen. One of the lesser-known Angus Glens, Glen Prosen has beautiful views and fantastic walking opportunities. If you feel like following in the footsteps of holy men, the Minister’s Path runs between Glen Prosen church and Glen Clova. The church minister used to walk the four miles there and back again to hold services in this remote glen.

    Look for signs of red deer and black grouse at this location.

    At the end of another day of discovery, you might like to consider a stay at the Airlie Arms Hotel in Kirriemuir to set you up ahead of day three. The hotel is centrally located in the town of Kirriemuir with 10 en-suite rooms as well as a restaurant and bar serving delicious home cooked meals.

  • Day 3 - Explore the Locations!

    • Tulloch Hill
    • Cortachy

    Location 1: Tulloch Hill

    For your first stop on day two, head to Tulloch Hill – easily recognisable by the impressive Airlie Monument which sits upon it. This monument was erected in memory of the11th Earl of Airlie who was killed in the Boer War on 11th June 1900.

    The path to the monument leads through larch woodland and onto the open moorland. Once at the top, you will be rewarded by stunning views of the valley below and the surrounding countryside.

    Watch out for pine marten and merlin at this location.

    Tulloch Hill

    Location 2: Cortachy

    Next up on your Wild South Esk adventure is Cortachy. This location marks a change in the journey of the River South Esk, where it drops from the uplands of Glen Clova and Prosen to the wide farmland further downstream.

    It’s a beautiful place to explore at any time of year, and full of wildlife that loves trees. Watch out for red squirrel, the great spotted woodpecker and jays here.


    Image credit – © Ian Preston

  • Day 4 - Explore the Locations!

    • Aberlemno
    • Inch Park

    Location 1: Aberlemno

    It’s the penultimate day of your Wild South Esk adventure, and time to head to Aberlemno. This small village is steeped in history and home to four beautifully carved stones, the work of the mysterious Picts, who lived here about 1,500 years ago.

    Aberlemno has some stunning views across the surrounding farmland and countryside, you can even see Munros and historic iron age hillforts from Angus Hill, and is well worth a visit to enjoy these.

    Watch out for red kite and other farmland wildlife at this location.

    Barn Owl

    Image credit – © Lorne Gill/SNH

    Location 2: Inch Park

    Next up is Inch Park, a popular park in the centre of Brechin. Brechin is a cathedral city and one of one of just two burghs along the River South Esk. The river offers a rich habitat for wildlife in the town, willow and marsh marigold lined riverbanks. Inch Park stretches along the bank and is a popular place to walk and relax.

    You can enjoy a walk here following the river downstream along River Street to the historic Brechin Bridge. Along the way you’ll pass attractive mosaics designed by the community when the flood defence wall was built, some of which are inspired by the river’s wildlife.

    Watch out for grey wagtail and wildflowers at this locations, and even bats on warmer summer evenings.

    Relax before your final day with an overnight stay at Grey Harlings Hotel in Montrose. The hotel is situated next to the historic Montrose Golf Links – a quiet location but only a few minutes away from the town centre.

    Grey Wagtail
  • Day 5 - Explore the Locations!

    • Lurgies
    • Ferryden

    Location 1: The Lurgies

    Your first stop on your final day takes you to The Lurgies at Montrose Basin. Before the end of its journey to the sea, the River South Esk flows through the wide bowl of Montrose Basin. At high tide, the basin is a broad, salty loch and at low tide it’s a vast stretch of mud flats, salt marsh and tidal pools.

    Montrose Basin is a Local Nature Reserve and of international importance for birdlife. On its southern edge you will find Montrose Basin Wildlife Centre visitor with viewing equipment available for visitors to use. There are also some fantastic walks around the basin with hides located in every corner.

    Watch out for pink-footed geese, kingfisher and otter at this location.

    Montrose Basin

    Location 2: Ferryden

    Your final stop takes you to Ferryden, where the river finally joins the sea. The tide makes powerful surges in the water, stirring up food for fish, seals, and sea birds. 

    Follow the track above the river to the lighthouse at Scurdie Ness, passing dramatic rocks down on the shore and features that once helped boats find their way safely into the harbour.

    Watch out for eider duck, seals and bottlenose dolphin at this location.

    Bottlenose Dolphin

    Image credit – © Claire Lacey

That concludes your journey of discovery on the Wild South Esk. We hope you have a good journey home and that you will come back to visit Angus again very soon!

If you’d prefer a slightly shorter stay this time, why not take a look at our three-day Wild South Esk itinerary highlighting just some of the fantastic stops on this trail?

We’ve made some suggestions for accommodation throughout this itinerary, but please take a look at the Visit Angus website where you can see a huge range of places to choose from. There’s a fantastic choice of accommodation in Angus, including several camping and caravanning sites, luxury lodges and a choice of hotels, guest houses and self-catering cottages to suit all budgets.

The website also features a variety of places to eat throughout Angus as well as some of our fantastic food and drink producers so you can get some tasty goodies and enjoy a picnic on your travels. Please remember to leave no trace and keep Angus beautiful for all.

Travel Information

There’s an excellent and varied choice of places to stay – B&Bs overlooking the sea, farm stays, camping and caravanning sites in the heart of the countryside and hotels with swimming pools are just a few of the possibilities.

Angus has a great selection of family-friendly, welcoming restaurants, cafés and bistros, with menus to suit all budgets. Browse places to eat and drink in Angus.

Angus has an excellent roads infrastructure, with the A90 connecting the area to Aberdeen, Perth and Edinburgh, and the A92 serving the coastal area. There’s a good choice of public transport, with buses and trains linking towns and villages to each other and to Dundee, as well as good connections to places further afield.

In the more remote areas of Angus, and in the Angus Glens, a car is required. However, once you get here, the roads in this part of Angus are very good for cycling. Find out more information about bike hire or, if you would like to hire an electric bike.

Find out more about travelling to Angus by train, by bus, and by plane to Dundee Airport.