Autumn Walk through Paradise

Paradise Woods at Monymusk has been owned by the Grant family since the early 18th century.

Paradise Woods lie close to the village of Monymusk and Bennachie visible peeking out from behind the hill in the picture left.

Paradise Woods were planted  by the agricultural reformer Sir Archibald Grant.

The lade used to power a sawmill.

Sir Archibald Grant has gone down in Scottish history as one of the foremost improvers of the Agricultural revolution.

As well as introducing new methods of husbandry to the land such as enclosing fields with stone dykes in place of the old run rig system of growing, Grant encouraged his tenants to grow innovative crops of peas, useful for converting nitrogen in the soil, and turnips which provided winter feeding for farm animals, enabling many to survive winters where previously much of the stock had to be slaughtered as there was little to keep them alive during the cold months of the year.

But Grant also planted this woodland.

It’s a sign of the times but there are lots of dead trees in Paradise Woods today.

It is home to all sorts of varieties of tree: fir, oak, ash, elm, beech, plane, alder, hazel, birch, spruce, larch.

A hollowed out tree  and what it looks like up inside the trunk.

Many have very large girths, evidently very old, perhaps from the original planting.

The River Don flows alongside Paradise Wood, separating it from the Lord’s Throat.

Driving along the Lord’s Throat on the opposite side to Paradise Woods

6 Comments to “Autumn Walk through Paradise”

  1. I grew up at 1rastone cottage my dad was gamekeeper on monymusk estate . I went to blairdaff school then monymusk we moved to 4 don view where my father was gamekeeper in the forestry commission.. that was1 ram stone cottagetthen 4 don view . Got married in blairdaff church near Slattie.

  2. The stepping stones used to be a meeting place on a Sunday mostly young folk have seen a lot of people out in cars for a drive Brings back a lot of memories for me as I spent my child hood at ramstone no1 and don view

  3. Paradise indeed but without detracting from the beauty and the drive of the agricultural improver like so much that capitalism has given to the world there was a cost involved: most notably with the 18th century Grants was the way in which capital for Scottish development came from slavery in the Jamaican sugar plantations. The Grants were not unusual in this nonetheless, it is worth a footnote in the history of Paradise.

  4. My great grandparents spent their post-farming retirement in Monymusk in one of Grant’s cottages in the Square. Paradise Woods were a much-loved walk for them and many generations of the family, and the flat stones on the Don up the Lord’s Throat were a favourite place to swim. Sadly a great-uncle of mine drowned there – presumably he jumped in and hit his head on a rock – but it remained a lovely spot to test the mostly freezing temperature of the river.

    I took my own children there for a swim on one of our regular summer holidays in Aberdeenshire. It was unusually hot that year, and after a walk through the woods, cooling off in the Don was most welcome.

    Your video and photos bought back many happy memories. Thank you.

    Judy Rose

    • Hi Judy

      I’m glad the pictures have revived memories for you. Monymusk and Paradise, and its hinterland, are lovely areas. The number of diseased and fallen trees must give some concern and I don’t remember the wood being quite so badly affected before. Hopefully I’m wrong but whatever the wood should naturally regenerate.

      We also used to use the flat stones in the Don to paddle and splash around – it’s a superb part of the river and great fun on a fine day.


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