Ancient Monuments

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Aberdeenshire Canal, remains of, Beidleston to Woodland's Wood

A Scheduled Monument in Dyce/Bucksburn/Danestone, Aberdeen City

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Latitude: 57.2292 / 57°13'45"N

Longitude: -2.2432 / 2°14'35"W

OS Eastings: 385415

OS Northings: 815416

OS Grid: NJ854154

Mapcode National: GBR XH.894P

Mapcode Global: WH9Q8.JK1B

Entry Name: Aberdeenshire Canal, remains of, Beidleston to Woodland's Wood

Scheduled Date: 20 December 1999

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM8421

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Industrial: inland water

Location: Dyce

County: Aberdeen City

Electoral Ward: Dyce/Bucksburn/Danestone

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises the remains of a stretch of the Aberdeenshire Canal Navigation, or Aberdeen-Inverurie Canal.

This canal ran from Port Elphinstone, just S of Inverurie, to Aberdeen harbour, following a course 18.25 miles (29km) in length above the right-hand bank of the River Don. The Act of Parliament that sanctioned its construction in 1796 declared its purpose as being to 'promote the improvement and better cultivation of the inland parts of the country'.

Construction was carried out by various contractors, with John Rennie as consulting engineer and George Fletcher as resident engineer. The canal opened in 1805. It operated until 1854, when it was replaced by the Aberdeen to Inverness line of the Great North of Scotland Railway, which was built along roughly the same alignment, obliterating much of its course.

The section of the canal that survives between Woodland's Wood and Beidleston farm is represented by a curving earthwork, partly water-filled, running approximately E-W for a length of some 1460m. At two points it is cut and overlain by the railway embankment. The canal is represented by a scarp cut into a north-facing slope overlooking the River Don. In places this is rock-cut.

The channel is 3.7m to 6m wide and is defined on the N by a heavy earthen bank, about 3m wide at the top, standing up to 1.8m above the bottom of the channel. The modern unsurfaced vehicular track to Woodlands Croft runs along the eastern 600m of this bank. In one place, where the face of the hill recedes, the S side of the channel has also been embanked.

The monument to be scheduled comprises a strip of land some 30m-40m wide and 1460m in length, including the canal bed, embankments and scarp. It extends from the break in natural slope on the S to the foot of the bank on the N, and from a stone dyke at its western extremity to a gated fence at its eastern.

The fenced railway property is excluded from the scheduling, as is the top 15cm of the track to Woodlands Croft to allow for its maintenance. The area to be scheduled is indicated in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as representing one of only a handful of surviving sections from what was at one time a significant economic artery, serving the agricultural hinterland of the city of Aberdeen. Its importance is further enhanced by the documentary evidence that also exists relating to the economic and commercial history of the canal during its period of use. It retains the potential to provide further information about civil engineering and canal construction in the early nineteenth century.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NJ 81 NW 51.00.


Eadem, (1964) in Journal of Transport History, 6.3.

Graham, A. (1969) 'Two canals in Aberdeenshire', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, Vol. 100, 172, 175-6.

Lindsay, J. (1968) The canals of Scotland, Newton Abbot, 108, 112.

Milne, J. (1911) Aberdeen.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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