Wednesday, 22 September 2021
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.
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.
Allow ½ hour
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.
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.
Allow 1 hour
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.
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.
Allow 1½ hours
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.
With its coastal setting lack of big hills, Dalbeattie has a relaxed feel – but the riding is far from dull.
It’s 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.
The Dalbeattie 7stanes map (PDF 830KB) shows the trails.
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.
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.
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 steer granite lies at a steep angle and offers a thrilling experience.
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.
There are public toilets, shops and plenty of places to eat and drink at nearby Dalbeattie.
The charges to park at Dalbeattie are:
Payment options: Coin only
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 pass available:
Blue badge holders park free. Please display your Blue Badge clearly.
Motorhomes and campervans that are self-contained and have their own toilet facilities will be able to stay overnight at the Dalbeattie 7stanes car park from 26 April – 31 October 2021. This does not include overnight tent camping or car parking.
To help plan your stay, please see the details below:
Please visit our Stay the Night page for full details, participating locations, best practice, and terms and conditions of use.
Dalbeattie lies between Dumfries and Castle Douglas at the junction of the A711 and the A710. From Dumfries, take the A710 towards Colvend and look for signs to Town Wood car park on your left after about ½ mile (1km).
For the mountain bike trails, head for the 7stanes Dalbeattie car park. This is also on the A710 about 1/4 mile (1/2km) beyond Town Wood.
DG5 4QU is the nearest postcode.
Dumfries is the nearest railway station, and there are regular buses from Dumfries to Dalbeattie. You’ll find details at Traveline Scotland.
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