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Most of our visitor centres, car parks and mountain bike trails are now open. Check what’s open near you before you travel and enjoy your visit safely.

Forest of Ae

Where we are

Ae Forest Notice

COVID-19 has changed lots of things we do. And as we re-open the majority of our facilities and welcome more of you back in Phase 3, we need your help to do it safely. Please check what’s open before you travel; enjoy your visit safely by following NHS and Scottish Government guidance; take your litter home with you; and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

At this location:

  • The car park is open and normal charges (if any) now apply.
  • Toilets are open.
  • All mountain biking trails are open.

Please bear with us and check back regularly for updates. You can also find more information by visiting our COVID-19 page and our FAQs.

  • Please note the Red Ae Line MTB trail is currently diverted from Post 17 to post 23 due to tree felling operations. Please follow the diversions in place.

One of the UK's largest forests, with something for everyone

Ae Forest is the perfect place to visit, whether you want to relax with a picnic beside the river, watch woodland wildlife, stroll through the trees or burn off some serious energy on horseback or on the superb mountain bike trails.

The waymarked routes include gentle rambles beside the sparkling Water of Ae as well as longer hikes into the hills with wonderful views. Ae Forest covers an area about the size of 10,000 football pitches. Huge numbers of trees are harvested each year for timber, which is used for everything from paper to house building, and thousands of new trees are planted too.There’s a long history of forestry here: Ae village was built by the Forestry Commission in 1947 to house forest workers.

Southern Uplands Guide Map (PDF 3.8MB)

Walking trails


Ae Naze Trail

A peaceful, short stroll along the waters of Ae, with a perfect opportunity for a picnic.

Wide and firm track throughout with gentle rises and occasional loose gravel.

¾ miles / 1.2 km

½ hour

More information

Watch for wildlife in the trees!


Water of Ae Riverside Trail

A delightful wander along the restful Water of Ae. As the path weaves beneath soaring Norway spruce trees, watch for wildlife in the trees and burn.

Firm gravel surface throughout. Some loose stones and a couple of short fairly steep ramps. Two cattle grids and one wide bridge. Look out for vehicles on the first section.

3 ¼ miles / 5.2 km

1½ hours

More information

Look for red squirrels in the canopy, and dippers or statuesque herons along the burn. Take advantage of the pretty picnic sites beside the Water of Ae or just cool your feet in its sparkling shallows.


Green Hill Trail

A long route along the Water of Ae before climbing the hill. Great views from the top, across to Queensberry Hill and Harestanes Wind Farm.

Long slopes with steep sections on rough, narrow earthy path with exposed tree roots and muddy patches. One section of steps. Watch for vehicles on the first section.

5 ½ miles / 8.8 km

3½ hours

More information

Craigshields View is one of the best views in the area, taking in rolling farmland and out past Dumfries to the Solway Estuary in the far distance.

Mountain biking trails

Ae Forest is one of the world class 7stanes mountain bike venues. It features a superb variety of green, blue and red graded trails, an extreme downhill section for the serious experts, and a skills area for honing your technique.

There’s also a bike shop and bike hire on site.

The Ae 7stanes map (PDF 1MB) shows the trails.

New uplift service for our Ae Trails.  Check out

Mountain Biking

Ae Valley Route

Perfect for families, this trail takes you to a beautiful viewpoint overlooking the Water of Ae.

Green: Easy
5 ½ miles / 9.0 km

More information

A great place to try out mountain biking for the first time, and perfect for families. There are sections of easy singletrack and forest road and only one brief sharp climb. You’ll be rewarded with lovely views over the Water of Ae.

Mountain Biking

Larch View Route

Suitable for those families looking to take in a little bit more of the forest.

Blue: Moderate
8 ½ miles / 13.5 km

More information

Delve a little deeper into the forest, on this moderate route consisting of forest road and singletrack. Enjoy good views of the Water of Ae coupled with a fun ride.

Mountain Biking

Ae Line Trail

A trail notice is in effect

  • The Ae Line trail is diverted from Post 17 to post 23 for tree felling. Please follow the diversions in place.

A rocky ride through the countryside. The highlight of the route is the final descent with its multiplicity of jumps.

Red: Difficult
15 miles / 24.0 km

More information

This cross-country trail is peppered with jumps, drop-offs and tabletops that are sure to put a smile on your face. Take the trail slowly if you want a gentler ride, or the more experience mountain biker can tackle some of the big air possibilities.

Mountain Biking

The Shredder

A downhill run that's a great ice breaker for newcomers to this discipline of mountain biking.

Orange: Extreme
½ miles / 1.0 km

More information

A downhill run packed with technical features. Each obstacle on The Shredder has an easier alternative so you can choose the best option for you based on your own mountain biking experience.

Mountain Biking

Ae Downhill

A downhill challenge with seriously gnarly rocky sections and exhilarating drop-offs to satisfy the most demanding of riders.

Orange: Extreme
1 miles / 1.6 km

More information

A steep and rocky start is followed by a highly testing off-camber descent on this trail designed to challenge even the most seasoned biker.


Horse riding

The trails at Ae are ideal for horse riding. There’s plenty of room for horse boxes at the Naze car park, and you can start the British Horse Society Countryside Trail from here.

Facilities & access

Parking (charge)
Parking (charge)
Cafe or refreshments
Cafe or refreshments
Bike hire
Bike hire
Picnic area
Picnic area

Time for a bite to eat?

You’ll find delicious refreshments at the Ae café on site, as well as a bike shop who operate toilets, showers, and bike hire. The Ae Forest Bike Shop & Cafe is open daily 10am to 4:30pm, except Wednesdays.


Assistance dogs are welcome in the café. For our other canine visitors, there’s water available outside. The café has outdoor seating as well.

Car parking charges (coins only)

Please note, parking charges are as follows:

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

Annual Parking Permits valid in Ae, Mabie and Dalbeattie are now available. They cost £39 for a car or £59 for a minibus and are valid till the end of the calendar year. 

For further information please contact the Ae Office, phone 0131 370 5500 or email

Getting here

Turn off the A701 at Ae Bridgend, following signs to Forest of Ae. You’ll reach Ae village after about 2 miles (3km). Turn right at the Forest of Ae sign at the crossroads just beyond the village, then follow signs to the car park.

The mountain bike trails start at the Naze car park. To get there, go past the entrance to the main car park and continue along the road for about ½ mile (1km). Take the next left, signposted for 'Ae Valley car park'. There’s also parking for horse boxes here.

Using SatNav?

DG1 1QB is the nearest postcode.

Public transport

The nearest station is at Dumfries. There are regular buses between Dumfries and Moffat, stopping at Ae Bridgend and Parkgate, both about 2 miles (3 km) from Ae village. Check Traveline Scotland for details.

Get directions

Get in touch

Have a question or suggestion for improvement?

0300 067 6900 (option 1)
More contact information

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