The parish of Birse is located on the south of the River Dee, in the south-central part of Aberdeenshire. It is bounded on the north by the River Dee (opposite the parishes of Aboyne and Kincardine O'Neil), on the east and south by the Kincardineshire parish of Strachan, on the southwest by the Forfarshire parish of Lochlee, and on the west by the old parish of Glentanar (now merged with Aboyne). It includes the communities of Birse, Ballogie, and Finzean. It comprises 31,219 acres (approx 8 miles wide and 8.5 miles tall at its widest/tallest points), mostly farms and forest. Its population has ranged from 1,266 in 1801, rising to about 1,500 in the second quarter of the 19th century, and then slowly but steadily declining to 1,085 in 1901 and 841 in 1951. Number of households has been about 270, plus or minus 20, since 1800. Many of the farms and stone farmhouses from the 18th century can still be found today. Geographically, the parish is hilly (about 500-600 meters) in its south and east, and comprises three roughly parallel burns/glens which run from the mountains westward and slightly northward feeding into the River Dee: the Burn of Birse, the Burn of Cattie, and the Water of Feugh, with the villages of Birse, Ballogie, and Finzean respectively in the lower parts of the glens. The very sparsely populated area atop the glens is called the Forest of Birse.
For information on the historical Birse Parish Kirk, see the page for the hamlet of Birse.
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