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Escape from it all in a forest buzzing with nature
There’s something here for everyone – open space to play, picnic and barbecue, lots of trails with spectacular views, and plenty of opportunities for wildlife watching.
Mabie’s woods and hills are peaceful today, but there’s plenty of evidence of industry here, if you know where to look. The Romans made charcoal and smelted iron in these hills, and forestry has always been important in this area.The Forestry Commission bought Mabie in 1943, as part of a major wartime tree-planting scheme to rebuild timber reserves.
Mabie is also one of the world-class 7stanes mountain biking centres and caters for beginners right through to the most expert of riders.
Our guide to the Forests of Dumfries and the Solway (PDF 6.5MB) will help you explore Mabie and other woodlands in this wonderful part of Scotland.
A beautiful stroll beneath the redwoods and giant sequoia along the burn to reach the tranquil sensory garden and wildlife sculptures in Garden Wood.
Wide, firm surface throughout. Includes a number of short moderate slopes.
Allow ¼ hour
Stimulate your senses with furry leaves, trickling water, and chocolate-scented flowers in the sensory garden and look out for wooden wildlife sculptures and a poetry trail along the way.
A picturesque circuit of Chinney Field, which is filled with wild flowers in the summer and has good views across the Nith Estuary.
Wide, firm gravel surface throughout with some loose stones. Long moderate slopes with short steeper sections. One bridge.
Allow ¾ hour
Play poohsticks from the bridge as you cross the Mabie Burn and then visit the old sawmill below the field, which was once used to process timber from Mabie Forest. The area around the Old Sawmill is also a lovely spot for a picnic or barbecue.
Take a wander through the Stately Douglas Firs to find the relaxing tranquil Dalshinnie Loch.
Wide, firm gravel surface with some uneven loose sections and exposed tree roots. Moderate slopes with some steep sections.
Allow 1¼ hours
This trail climbs up through the woods to Dalshinnie Loch, perfect for picnics and dragonfly-spotting. Nightjars also hunt and nest in the scrub here.
Explore this quiet larch and beech dominated part of the forest for ever-changing views over the Nith Estuary and the rolling Galloway hills.
Mostly wide, firm gravel surface with some uneven sections and exposed tree roots. One short rough rocky section. Includes some steep slopes and a number of short flights of steps.
Allow 3½ hours
This trail climbs up through the woods to join a level forest road that circles the wooded flanks of Larch Hill. From this high vantage point you can enjoy ever-changing views over Mabie Forest, including the Nith valley and Dumfries and out towards the Solway coast. On a clear day you may even glimpse England’s Lake District. On the way, look across the valley to spot the Goldielea Viaduct, which used to carry trains between Dumfries and Stranraer.
A wonderfully varied exploration of Dalshinnie Loch nature reserve and the two hills above. There are extensive views of Criffel and the Solway Firth from both Marthrown and Craigbill Hills.
Mostly gravel surface. Short sections of rough earth and stone with muddy patches. Long steep slopes for up to 500m. Includes some steps and a 0.9m opening.
Allow 3½ hours
This trail climbs up through the woods to Dalshinnie Loch, perfect for picnics and dragonfly-spotting. Nightjars also hunt and nest in the scrub here. Keep climbing to a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the glittering Solway estuary, then wind through Mabie Nature Reserve - there’s a host of butterflies here in summer. Watch out for ospreys fishing on Lochaber Loch as you pass above it.
Mountain biking trails
Mabie 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.
The Mabie 7stanes map (PDF 1MB) shows the trails.
Big Views Loop
Gentle slopes and sweeping scenery give you an easy enjoyable ride.
Big Views by name, big views by nature - this trail offers excellent views of the Solway Firth and Nith estuary. You’ll mainly find forest road on this route and the gradients are manageable, ensuring a pleasant ride.
The Woodhead Loop is slightly harder than the Big Views Loop and explores the far side of the forest using quiet forest roads and some easy singletrack.
Explore the woods on forest roads and easy singletrack, this route is the perfect option for novices looking to build their confidence.
A mixed cross-country route in stunning woodland on natural trails and singletrack.
A fast, challenging ride in places with rocky obstacles and tight berms. The Phoenix Trail takes you cross country through majestic woodland on both natural trails and singletrack.
A great place to play
There’s an adventure playground nestling amongst the trees next to the car park, offering safe fun for the kids and a picturesque spot for a picnic.
Watch out for wildlife
Mabie Forest is home to red squirrels, badgers, roe deer, foxes and bats. We actively manage an area near Dalshinnie Loch to encourage the elusive nightjar, by creating open areas amongst the scrubby birch trees where it can nest and hunt.
Many species of insects, butterflies and moths also live here – the forest hosts over 20 of Scotland's 32 resident butterflies, including the scarce pearl-bordered fritillary. Dead trees are left standing in the forest to provide a home for insects and their larvae, which in turn provide food for woodpeckers and bats. Take the Lochaber Trail to find out more about butterflies and see how many you can spot.
Lochaber Loch wildlife hide
There’s a hide on the edge of Lochaber Loch, from where you can watch for birds such as mute swan and great crested grebe. You might also be lucky enough to spot ospreys fishing on the loch in summer.
Facilities & access
Time for a break?
There are toilets, including accessible facilities, near the main car park.
There are refreshments available at Mabie House Hotel.
There are also public toilets and plenty of places to eat, drink and shop at nearby Dumfries.
Car parking information
The charges to park at Mabie are:
Payment options: Coin or Card
- £1 for up to 1 hour
- £2 for up to 3 hours
- £3 for all day
- £12 for minibus or coach all day
We recommend you bring both coins and cards with you in case our machine is having an off-day. 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:
- Available in advance by downloading the application form and emailing to the Regional Office or take your completed form and pay at the cafe at Ae.
- Please read our Annual Pass terms and conditions (PDF) before applying.
- Valid at the following sites: Kirroughtree, Glentrool, Clatteringshaws, Carrick Forest Drive, Raiders Road Forest Drive, Ae, Mabie, Dalbeattie
- £70 per car and £125 per mini bus/coach
Blue badge holders park free. Please display your Blue Badge clearly.
Mabie Forest lies just beside the A710 between Dumfries and New Abbey. Look out for signposts to the forest from the A710 about 4 miles (6.5 km) from Dumfries. Turn into the forest and it’s about ½ mile (1km) to the car park, at grid reference NX 950 709.
Please note that 'Mabie Farm Park' is signposted just before the entrance to the forest, but there is no vehicle access to the forest from the farm park.
DG2 8HB is the nearest postcode.
The nearest railway station is at Dumfries. There are regular buses between Dumfries and Sandyhills that stop near the entrance to the forest. You’ll find details at Traveline Scotland.
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