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A mountain biking classic with gorgeous lochside trails

Pretty Plantain Loch is a real highlight in this quiet, easy to explore forest beside the town of Dalbeattie. Pause a while at the lochside to watch ducks and dragonflies, and discover soaring sculptures amongst the trees.

The best place to start for walkers is the Dalbeattie Town Wood car park. Dalbeattie Forest’s mix of deciduous woodland and conifer forest creates a green link between the town and coast.

Its trees also provide a valuable and sustainable supply of timber – and one of Scotland’s biggest sawmills is tucked away behind the forest. Granite from the town’s quarries has been used across the globe, from the Thames Embankment to a lighthouse in Sri Lanka, and it’s still being produced. Dalbeattie is also one of the 7stanes world-class mountain biking centres – it’s renowned for its challenging granite slabs. If you're here to explore on your bike, head to the 7stanes Dalbeattie car park.

This is a place where the community makes things happen. In 1999 the Dalbeattie Forest Community Partnership was set up so that local people could work with us to manage the forest. Two years later, the partnership built the easy access trail.

The tripadvisor logo, with the words 'Certificate of Excellence, tripadvisor' inside a green cirle with a owl graphic.

Another opportunity to have your say

In March, we showed you our ideas. Thanks to the detailed feedback from groups, individuals and organisations in and around Dalbeattie, we’re ready for the next step and to show you more detailed proposals.

Drop-in sessions will be held at Dalbeattie Community Initiative, 71 High Street, Dalbeattie, DG5 4AA on:

  • Friday, 14 June: 10am – 6pm
  • Saturday, 15 June: 9.30am – 2pm

We’re there to answer questions about the consultation process, take feedback and discuss any ideas or concerns.

The detailed proposals and feedback questionnaire will also be available online from Thursday, 13 June until Sunday, 30 June.

Walking trails

Dalbeattie route card (PDF)


Birch Trail

A gentle wander through mossy pines, with plenty of places to stop and sit. Look for the granite sculptures.

Wide, firm gravel surface throughout. Some loose stones. Long gentle slopes with some short moderate sections.

Easy trail grade icon
1 miles / 1.6 km

½ hour

More information

This scenic trail winds through different types of woodland. The route was built by the Dalbeattie Forest Community Partnership to ensure everyone can enjoy the forest.


Plantain Loch Trail

A lovely walk along the tranquil shores of Plantain Loch. Look out for wildlife: red squirrels, grey herons or dragonflies in summer.

Mostly firm gravel surface. Short rough rocky section with exposed tree roots. Several short steep slopes.

Strenuous trail grade icon
1 ¾ miles / 2.9 km

1 hour

More information

This trail meanders between the conifers to Plantain Loch, which appears as if by magic through the trees. Rest a while beside the loch and enjoy spotting wildlife from the view point. Watch out for waterfowl with their chicks in spring and colourful dragonflies and damselflies in summer. On the way back there are lovely views over the loch’s glittering waters.


Quarry Trail

Discover Dalbeattie’s quarrying heritage at the top of the forest, where oak and beech mingle with the pine trees.

Mostly firm gravel tracks. Rough section with narrow rocky path through trees and some muddy patches. Steep slope to quarries.

Strenuous trail grade icon
2 ¼ miles / 3.7 km

1½ hours

More information

Local granite was renowned around the world for its hardness, and is evident in dramatic outcrops all along the route. The quarry used to be one of the main sources of granite for the local community, and its stone has been used for streets and buildings across Britain. Today it’s overgrown with thick mosses and ferns, providing shelter for wildlife.

Mountain biking trails

Dalbeattie is renowned amongst the 7stanes trail centres for its technical trails, granite features and great views, and there’s a trail here for everyone. Hone your technique at the skills area then choose your route into the forest.

Dalbeattie 7stanes route card (PDF)

Mountain Biking

Ironhash Trail

Grade – Green: Easy 7 ¼ miles / 11.5 km
Green: Easy
Is this trail for you? Find the right grade for your abilities

Grade - Green: Easy  fls web icon cycling green easy
Expect relatively flat, wide, and smooth trails. Gentle climbs, descents, rollers and berms, with easy to avoid features such as rocks and potholes. Surface might be loose, uneven or muddy at times.

The Ironhash trail provides an easy ride deep into the heart of the forest, mainly on forest roads. It's ideal for getting a flavour of mountain biking. Enjoy an easy ride into the heart of the woods, followed by a short uphill climb to impressive views over Dalbeattie. Perfect for beginners or children.

Mountain Biking

Moyle Hill Trail

Grade – Blue: Moderate 8 ¾ miles / 14.0 km
Blue: Moderate
Is this trail for you? Find the right grade for your abilities

Grade – Blue: Moderate  fls web icon cycling blue moderate
Expect relatively flat, wide, and smooth trails. Gentle climbs, descents, rollers and berms, with easy to avoid features such as rocks and potholes. Surface might be loose, uneven or muddy at times.

Get ready to rock and roll, on this fun trail which delivers some cracking views. An ideal introduction to 7stanes singletrack and the granite rock that Dalbeattie is famed for. There are sections with rocks and roots, plus some steady uphill climbs – all rewarded with beautiful views of the Urr estuary.

Mountain Biking

Hardrock Trail (diverted)

Grade – Red: Difficult 15 ½ miles / 25.0 km
Red: Difficult
Is this trail for you? Find the right grade for your abilities

Grade – Red: Difficult  fls web icon cycling red difficultExpect a mixture of steep climbs, descents and / or avoidable features. Larger jumps, berms and rollable features at controlled speed. Technical features such as tree roots, drop-offs and large rocks. Very variable surfaces.

Step it up a gear on this challenging route with its rougher and rockier surface. Take a ride on miles of singletrack and be prepared for some challenging features along the way. There are optional black-graded sections if you feel like testing your technical ability. The Slab is the star of the show – this fabled section of sheer granite lies at a steep angle and offers a thrilling experience.

A trail notice is in effect

  • The Red route is open but has been permanently rerouted on three short sections.  
  • There is also a temporary diversion from post 46, this takes out 'Smithland Hill' and the 'Terrible Twins', this is due to tree harvesting operations.


Wildlife watching

Plantain Loch, in the heart of Dalbeattie’s Town Wood, is a great place to spot wildlife. In winter, look out for different species of gulls and ducks, while in summer grey herons nest in some of the lochside trees and little grebes nests amongst the reeds. Dragonflies and damselflies put on a show here on warm summer days too, zooming around close to the water's surface. One of the easiest to spot is the iridescent Common Blue Damselfly.

Facilities and access

Mountain biking
Mountain biking
Parking (charge)
Parking (charge)
Easy-access facilities
Easy-access facilities
Wildlife hide
Wildlife hide
Picnic area
Picnic area
Icon showing a campervan on green background
Stay the Night

Find the essentials nearby

There are public toilets, shops and plenty of places to eat and drink at nearby Dalbeattie.

Car parking information

Dalbeattie 7stanes car park - Pay by coin or RingGo:

  • £1.50 for up to 1 hour
  • £2 for up to 3 hours
  • £3 for all day
  • £12 for minibus or coach all day

Dalbeattie Town Wood car park - Pay by RingGo:

  • £1.00 for up to 1 hour
  • £2.00 for up to 3 hours
  • £3.00 for all day
  • £10.00 for minibus or coach all day

Blue Badge holders park free. Please display your Blue Badge clearly.

Please park with care and consideration. In particular please park in designated parking areas only and do not block entrances or gates. Nearby car parks with free parking can be found in our local forest list without the £ symbol. 

Annual parking passes available:

Available in advance by downloading the application form and emailing to the Regional Office. Please read our Annual Pass terms and conditions (PDF) before applying.

Dumfries Car Park Pass - £45 per car and £100 per mini bus or coach
Dumfries and Galloway Car Park Pass - £70 per car and £125 per mini bus or coach
FLS National Car Park Pass - £100 per car and £150 per mini bus or coach

Valid at all Forestry and Land Scotland car parks except Tentsmuir.

FLS National Pass application form


More parking info

Stay the Night 

Stay the Night continues to run through to 31 October 2024. This means self-contained motorhomes and campervans will be able to park overnight at the 7stanes car park.

There is a £7 charge to Stay the Night at this car park. Payment can be made through RingGo with details of how to do this at each car park.

To help plan your stay, please see the details below:

  • Height barrier – No
  • Motorhome capacity of car park – 4
  • Suitable for large vehicles/caravans – No
  • Parking notes - Stay the Night only available at the 7stanes car park - see map for details. Please leave a 4m gap between other motorhomes.

Please visit our Stay the Night page for full details, participating locations, best practice, and terms and conditions of use .

Stay the night

Getting here

Dalbeattie lies between Dumfries and Castle Douglas at the junction of the A711 and the A710.

From Dumfries, take the A710 via New Abbey towards Colvend (Coast Road) for the mountain bike trails, head for the 7stanes Dalbeattie car park. You will find it on the right about 3/4 mile (1.2km) from Dalbeattie.

For the walking trails, go past the 7stanes mountain bike trail car park about 1/4 mile (1/2km) towards Dalbeattie, the Town Wood car park is on the right.

An alternative and slightly shorter route from Dumfries is the A711 via Cargenbridge/Beeswing then take the A710 when you get to Dalbeattie just before the school and look for signs to Town Wood/7stanes. The car park is on your left after about 1/2 mile (800m).

For the mountain bike trails, head for the 7stanes car park you will find it on the left about 1/4 mile (1/2km) past the Town Wood car park.   

Using SatNav?

DG5 4QU is the nearest postcode.

Public transport

Dumfries is the nearest railway station, and there are regular buses from Dumfries to Dalbeattie. You’ll find details at Traveline Scotland.

Get directions

Get in touch

Have a question or suggestion for improvement?

0300 067 6900 (option 1)
More contact information

Nearby forests

Woodland path, Doach Wood, near Castle Douglas

Wander in the shadow of Scotland's tallest trees

Facilities and activities
Parking icon
Distance from 'Dalbeattie': 2.32 miles
Binoculars on a picnic table

Soak in the Solway scenery and wander through wildlflowers

Facilities and activities
Distance from 'Dalbeattie': 2.70 miles
Green ferns
Facilities and activities
Distance from 'Dalbeattie': 3.32 miles