The farting woods (Tullos Wood)

During the lockdown early this year, Ben did a lot of walking around Aberdeen. On one of his walks he discovered a woodland just south of the city in Torry. We decided to check it out yesterday. We cycled there from Duthie Park.

The first part of the ride was all on shared-use paths so it felt safe for children. When we got to Abbotswell’s Road and Wellington Road we cycled on the pavement. This is illegal in Scotland but Wellington Road is a very busy dual lane carriageway and there was no cycle path so I felt we had no choice. Elizabeth is ten and can legally cycle on the pavement but the rest of us can’t and it would be absurd for the three of us to try to cycle on the road beside Elizabeth on the pavement. We’d get separated at junctions with green lights giving right of passage for all of us except Elizabeth and red lights the opposite. Again I felt so cross with the city council, with politicians, with people who vote to force us all to drive everywhere. I want us to be an active family, to reduce our emissions, and most of all I want to breathe clean air and so we cycle but this aspect of it really sucks.

Here’s a map of the route with an X to mark the woods.

Tullos Wood is a strange place. There’s a sign at the start of the walk to say many trees were planted in the area in 2012 to mark the Queen’s jubilee. Most of them must be still quite little because it didn’t really feel like a forest. There was also an odd smell. The kids described it as like a giant who had eaten lots of brussels sprouts and who was now farting in the area.

The woods are on an elevated spot with fantastic views of the sea and city but the views are spoiled by the local area which is very industrial and really quite ugly. The nearby Wellington Road (the dual carriageway) also produces a constant hum of motor traffic which didn’t really make for a peaceful walk in nature.

Then we saw weird things like this (the sign says, “Danger Explosive atmosphere”).

This possibly explains the brussels-sprouts-eating-farting giant in the vicinity. I believe the site used to be a city refuse tip so perhaps this is a consequence of that. But this begs the question, why did Aberdeen use what is possibly some of the best city real estate for a tip? Despite the ugliness, the smell, the noise, the views at the top were still lovely as you will see from my photos.

It may be a bit tricky to see in this next photo without zooming in but beside the woods at one point was what can only be described as some kind of bollard farm or a bollard graveyard. It’s a giant field with bollards evenly spaced. I have no idea what they are. It looks very peculiar. Does anyone know?

This next photo shows what neighbours the woods and you can see it’s very ugly.

At one point we found this burnt out car. This sparked some lively conversation about what crimes were committed in it.

There are a few cairns at the site. This one in the next photo is Baron’s cairn and is apparently prehistoric. Which again makes the decision to use the area as a city dump all the more tragic.

We didn’t see much wildlife there other than birds. Indeed we only saw two other groups of humans. It was very devoid of life. I’m not sure what the solution is for the area but then I also don’t know the history and perhaps I’ve been spoilt with all the wonderful walks in Aberdeenshire.

7 thoughts on “The farting woods (Tullos Wood)”

  1. The bollards are a strange sight, indeed. They almost look like they could be the sort of thing a farmer would run an electric fence between to graze cows strip by strip along that paddock. However, I doubt they’re for that, considering where they’re located, and farmers usually use light, movable plastic posts for their movable electric fencing.

    1. There was something a bit Dr Who about the whole place or maybe even Twilight Zone. Apparently the bollards are vents for the decomposing former landfill that’s buried underground.

  2. Hi Rachel – is it possible that your ‘Bollard Field’ is actually a long-since-capped Municipal Dump? This would explain the Hydrogen Sulphide and other noxious gases – as the ‘bollards’ look like carefully spaced tubes to release the gas byproducts of decaying organic material.

    1. Yes, I think you’re right. It was a former refuse tip and that would also explain the smell. I never knew they had to do that though. Would it cause an explosion if the gas was left to build up underground? It’s terrible how much waste we produce. I hate that we just dump it all in the environment.

  3. Interesting contrast to other places around your area.
    There’s a bit outside work where I cycle on the pavement, as it leads up to a crazy uphill junction, where I use the pedestrian crossing and proceed into the side streets. I used to put this down to being a scaredy cyclist who hates traffic until I saw all manner of quite experienced staff doing exactly the same thing, it’s just a fundamentally bike unfriendly spot.

    1. I think cycling on the pavements should be legal until a proper network of segregated cycle paths has been created. It’s just wrong to make cycling so unattractive when the benefits are so good.

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