Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Aberdeenshire Canal, remains of, Station Road, Woodside, Aberdeen

A Scheduled Monument in Hilton/Woodside/Stockethill, Aberdeen City

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Latitude: 57.172 / 57°10'19"N

Longitude: -2.1298 / 2°7'47"W

OS Eastings: 392249

OS Northings: 809025

OS Grid: NJ922090

Mapcode National: GBR S6Y.H4

Mapcode Global: WH9QJ.8Z1R

Entry Name: Aberdeenshire Canal, remains of, Station Road, Woodside, Aberdeen

Scheduled Date: 30 October 2002

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM10424

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Industrial: inland water

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen City

Electoral Ward: Hilton/Woodside/Stockethill

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises the remains of a section of the Aberdeenshire Canal and a bridge, visible as an earthwork and an upstanding structure respectively. This well-preserved section of the (now drained) Aberdeenshire Canal lies in a grass-covered playing field on the N side of Great Northern Road, Woodside, in the City of Aberdeen.

This section of the canal appears as a substantial linear gulley, with a steep bank along its S side and a lower bank along its N side, with a stone bridge towards the W end of the monument, which now carries Station Road. This canal section is aligned with the N edge of the Great Northern Road, and is discernible over a length of some 140m, from approximately 30m W of the bridge to 110m E of the bridge, where it meets Deer Road and disappears. The area to either side is now built up, but Canal Street to the E both refers to and continues the line of the historic canal.

The bridge arch has a maximum span of 4.4m, indicating the original width of the canal. The bridge is built of large granite blocks and terminates in 3m-high pillars of granite at either end, which have been obscured by later re-modelling of the bridge. On its E face, the bridge arch (which stands 2.1m high maximum above the present ground surface), is intact and open, though blocked by a modern gate. The arch in the W face has been blocked with stone.

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 that its purpose was to 'promote the improvement and better cultivation of the inland parts of the country'.

Construction was carried out by various contractors, with George Fletcher as resident engineer and John Rennie as consultant. 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 the canal's course.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described. It is irregular in shape with maximum dimensions of 140m (WNW-ESE) by 30m transversely, as marked in red on the accompanying map. It is demarcated at the W end by the steps leading down to the modern houses and Station House; and at the E end by Deer Road. The scheduling excludes the road surface over the bridge and the gate in the E face of the bridge, to allow for routine maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as one of only a handful of surviving elements of the Aberdeenshire Canal, which was at one time a significant economic artery serving the hinterland of the City of Aberdeen. Its importance is enhanced by the documentary evidence that exists relating to the legal and commercial history of the canal during its period of use.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NJ 90 NW 285.01.


Graham, A. (1969) 'Two canals in Aberdeenshire', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol. 100.

Harding, D. I. (1997) 'Aberdeen area (Aberdeen; Dyce; Newhills; Peterculter parishes), assessment', Discovery Excav Scot, 5.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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