COVID-19 and Forestry and Land Scotland
FLS has reduced its operations to felling that is contributing to essential business requirements to help keep Scotland ticking over. Our staff are working from home where possible; staff who are working continue to practise social distancing rigorously following Government and NHS guidance to keep safe.
Fresh air and being outdoors benefits physical and mental health and well-being, and for local visitors the majority of walking trails on Scotland’s national forests and land remain open. Be aware that staff cannot maintain our standard checks and maintenance. All our mountain biking trails and all car parks are closed.
All visitors are reminded to maintain social distance at all times.
Forest of Ae
Ae Forest Notice
All visitor facilities - including the car park, bike shop and café - are closed until further notice due to the ongoing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation.
All mountain biking trails are now closed. All walking trails are open. (Last updated 26 March).
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.
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.
Allow ½ hour
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.
Allow 1½ hours
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.
Allow 3½ hours
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
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 www.adrenalinuplift.co.uk/ae-forest
Ae Valley Route (diverted)
A trail notice is in effect
The Ae Valley Green Mountain Bike Route is closed and diverted at post 38 due to tree felling works (weekdays only), until early April.
Perfect for families, this trail takes you to a beautiful viewpoint overlooking the Water of Ae.
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.
Larch View Route (diverted)
A trail notice is in effect
The Larch View Mountain Bike Route is closed and diverted at post 41 (exit of Colin’s Folly) due to tree felling works (weekdays only), until early April.
Suitable for those families looking to take in a little bit more of the forest.
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.
Ae Line Trail (diverted)
A trail notice is in effect
The Ae Line will be closed and diverted from post 23 due to tree felling works until early April. There are 3 diversion options, all of which are signed:
- Option 1: Diverted from post 23 and returns on the Green/Blue route, cutting out about 40% of the Red Route.
- Option 2: Diverted from post 23, re-joins the red route 600m beyond the talking head stone. This is mainly on forest road and will add approximately 40mins to the ride time.
- Option 3: Follows Option 2 but finishes on ‘The Shredder’. This is an orange grade trail which is more technical. Please read the trail grading information on the information panel before taking this option.
A rocky ride through the countryside. The highlight of the route is the final descent with its multiplicity of jumps.
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.
A downhill run that's a great ice breaker for newcomers to this discipline of mountain biking.
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.
A downhill challenge with seriously gnarly rocky sections and exhilarating drop-offs to satisfy the most demanding of riders.
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.
Facilities & access
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. Find the Ae Forest Bike Shop & Café on Facebook.
The Visitor Centre, bike shop and café are currently closed.
There are also places to eat and drink at nearby Ae village, or a bit farther afield at Dumfries, Moffat and Thornhill.
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 email@example.com.
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.
DG1 1QB is the nearest postcode.
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 in touch
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