A 53-mile pathway from Aberdeen to Fraserburgh and Peterhead has been unveiled at an official ceremony led by the Provost of Aberdeenshire.
Provost Jill Webster cut the ribbon for the Formartine and Buchan Way at Maud Station last Wednesday, September 25.
Children from Maud School planted primroses and Scottish bluebells at the museum to mark the special occasion.
The Maud and Strichen stretch of pathway, completed last year, was the final part of the route to be finished.
The path follows the route of the former railway line which linked up Buchan communities with Aberdeen.
Although the tracks were lifted in the late 1970s, the new project has opened the line to walkers, joggers, cyclists, dog owners and horse riders.
The opening ceremony attracted a large number of visitors including parents, local residents, council representatives, Mintlaw 50+ Walkers, Friends of Maud Railway Museum, Deer Community Council, Maud Village Trust, Maud Community Cafe and Fraserburgh Rotary Club.
Provost Webster said: “This is very much a community resource and it really emphasises that this is a facility for all ages and abilities to enjoy all year round.
“The 11 different sections will take you to a dozen towns and villages, all of which benefited from the railway in its heyday but which now benefit from a leisure pathway on their doorsteps.”
One volunteer, Nigel Sawford, commented: “It’s put to good use. Otherwise it would have been all bulldozed down and there would have been no walkway, no station.
“This is a centre and focal point for people who walk. There are picnic tables and people can leave their bikes here.”
Representatives from the council where also present in Strichen to open the route there, with 19 children from Strichen School planting flowers for the occasion.
Organisations including Sustrans, Sports Council, Scottish National Heritage and most recently Aberdeenshire Council through the 100 day fund supported the development.
It is part of the wider Trek Aberdeenshire project which aims to make the North East a destination of choice for tourists who are interested in outdoor leisure activities.
The railway line was first built in 1861 and joined Dyce and Mintlaw. Branches from Maud to Peterhead and Maud to Fraserburgh were added before 1865.
Passengers services were stopped on the Buchan railway 100 hears later in 1965 and the tracks were finally lifted after freight services finished in 1979.
The Buchan Countryside Group reopened the route as a cycleway and path in 1987.
An open weekend will be held at Maud Railway Museum on Saturday, October 5, and Sunday, October 6, from 12noon to 4pm.