Get active in Glentress
Just one hour away from Edinburgh, Glentress offers superb walking, mountain biking, tree-top fun and magnificent views of the beautiful Tweed Valley.
It’s one of the famous 7stanes mountain biking centres, with award-winning trails that attract riders from all over the UK and beyond. Walking at Glentress is great too, with airy views across the famous River Tweed and a chance to tread in the footsteps of Bronze Age and Iron Age people.
After all your hiking and biking efforts you can reward yourself with a coffee and a cake in the distinctive café that's built from local timber. Take a look at our guide map to the Tweed Valley Forest Park which will help you explore.
Grab a bite to eat
The Glentress Peel café is open from 9am to 6pm every day.
Glentress Peel café is hosting Architecture & Design Scotland’s Best of the Best exhibition from Friday 2nd to Thursday 8th September. As part of the Year of Innovation, Architecture & Design 2016, the exhibition showcases Scotland’s award-winning buildings, places and communities from over the past five years.
Only 20 venues will be hosting this exhibition, and we welcome visitors to gain an insight into the range of award-winning projects.
The Glentress Peel bike shop has over 150 bikes available for hire. It also stocks a range of bikes, bike accessories and clothing, and the staff can offer great advice on local trails. It’s open Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 6pm; Saturday and Sunday 9am - 5pm.
There are two bike wash units in the lower car park. You’ll need £2, £1, 50p, 20p or 10p coins.
You’ll find changing rooms, lockers and showers in The Gateway building, open Monday to Friday from 9am - 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am - 5pm. Lockers need £1 coin to operate (coin refunded when key returned). Showers need either £1 or 20p coins to operate.
From The Gateway building you can also watch our beehive and ospreys from The Wild Watch (open 10am - 4pm daily) and pick up leaflets and maps.
Please note, parking charges are as follows:
- £2 for up to 1 hour
- £3.50 for up to 3 hours
- £5 for all day
- £20 for minibus and coach all day
Coaches are welcome at Glentress, parking is available in the lower overflow car park which is situated on the left as you enter from the A72. To arrange coach parking please phone 07834 435380 between 9am and 4pm.
Glentress has received a gold award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme and is classed as a four-star visitor attraction.
Please note, on 3rd September there will be a high number of mountain bikers competing in the forest for the PCC Stage Race.
Stroll around the enchanted Glentress ponds, an oasis of ash, birch and pine that is home to herons, bats and red squirrels.
Firm gravel path with regular seats. Short moderate ramps with some loose stones. Includes a wide kissing gate and bridge, and a narrow 0.85m opening.
½ miles / 0.9 km Allow ¼ hour
The ponds lie in a hollow where a grove of Douglas fir once stood. Some of the trees came down in a storm some 40 years ago, and the ponds are now a peaceful, sheltered corner of the forest. There are ten brass rubbings of forest animals and birds along the way, ideal for a family activity.
Discover the charms of Glentress Burn, passing its serene ponds before winding through the magnificent Douglas firs above.
Numerous short steep slopes with some loose gravel. Some narrow and uneven earth sections with exposed tree roots. A short flight of steps, and several kissing gates and narrow openings.
2 miles / 3.3 km Allow 1 hour
The Douglas fir trees on ‘Dougie Bank’, just above the ponds, are nearly 100 years old. Some of the trees from this part of the forest now sail the high seas as masts on tall ships. Douglas fir from Glentress has also been used to build the café and toilet block at Glentress Peel.
Get a glimpse of our Iron Age past on this delightful high level promenade above the Tweed Valley, with spectacular views over Peebles to the Caddon Hills.
Mostly firm gravel surface. Some sections of uneven earth and grass with exposed tree roots. Long moderate slopes with some steeper sections.
2 ¼ miles / 3.8 km Allow 1½ hours
Starting from the Buzzard’s Nest car park, visit the fortified settlements at Janet's Brae and imagine how our ancestors would have lived in this area over 2000 years ago on this fascinating route through a beautiful and varied area of the forest.
Buzzard’s Nest Trail
Explore the varied plantations of Glentress Forest, including characterful areas of Scots pine, Douglas fir and Norway spruce, and good views across the valley from the slopes of Cardie Hill.
Firm gravel and earth surface with loose and uneven sections. Long steep slopes for 400m. Includes kissing gates, narrow openings and some steps. Look out for vehicles and other users.
3 miles / 4.9 km Allow 2 hours
Along the way you’ll find stories about the foresters who’ve built Glentress, including the ‘Lumberjills’ – women who worked here during World War II.
Climb to the top of Glentress Forest and pass the Iron Age settlement at Shieldgreen Tower. Magnificent views over Peebles and Soonhope Burn.
Rough earth and grass paths, often narrow. Several long and continuous steep slopes for over 500m. Some short muddy sections.
5 ¾ miles / 9.3 km Allow 4 hours
Starting from the Buzzard’s Nest car park, this trail takes you through remoter, mature woodland to some fine viewpoints to the north. You’ll often see buzzards and roe deer along the way.
Mountain biking trails
Glentress is one of the famous 7stanes mountain biking centres.
The Glentress 7stanes map (PDF 3.2MB) shows the trails.
If you’d like to get more involved in the mountain biking community at Glentress, check out the Glentress Trailfairies - a group of volunteers who help to keep the trails in shape - and the Tweed Valley Bike Patrol - a voluntary group run for the safety and support of bikers.
Trail update (26th August): All trails are open. On 3rd September the skills area, zoom or bust, Fire Tower to Ho Chi Min and Blue velvet will be closed for the PCC Stage Race.
Glentress Skills Area
Please note, on 3rd September the skills area will be closed for the PCC Stage Race.
Close to Buzzards Nest car park you'll find the skills area. Offering green, blue, red graded trails to help you choose the right trail for you.More information...
A place to practise and perfect your technique, suitable for kids, beginners or those looking for a refresher. Choose from the Blue or Green Loops, or the Red Trail to get warmed up.
Note: The skills area has undergone a makeover, with new features to help make it more attractive to families, kids and beginners. There are now some differences between the grading of the loops in the Skills Area 'on the ground' and what's detailed on the current 7stanes trail map. This will be updated soon.
The Lower Green Route
Green: Easy - 2.2 miles / 3.5 km
An excellent beginner route through Glentress's oldest, tallest and most magnificant trees.More information...
This trail starts and finishes at the Glentress Peel Visitor Centre. The route has gentle gradients and mellow bends that are a perfect introduction to mountain biking.
The Upper Green Route
Green: Easy - 2.8 miles / 4.5 km
A fabulous trail that provides stunning views of Peebles, the Tweed Valley and the surrounding hills.More information...
This purpose-built singletrack route starts from the Buzzards Nest Car Park, which is sign-posted from the forest entrance. It’s a fair old pedal up to the car park from the bottom of the forest (only 2km, but lots of climbing) so driving up is advised unless you’re feeling really fit!
The Glentress Blue Route
Please be aware that on 3rd September Blue velvet will be closed for the PCC Stage Race.
Blue: Moderate - 10.0 miles / 16.0 km
A hidden gem that's big fun for all - from novices taking the next step up from green routes, to experienced riders. There are options along the way for earlier finishes or you can go for the full whack.More information...
This route is split into a lower loop and upper loop – each 5 miles / 8km long. Start at the trailhead at Glentress Peel and climb as far as the Buzzards Nest. Then either descend on the bottom loop or continue on, to include the upper loop too. So many highlights, including Berm Baby Berm, Blue Velvet, Good Game. It’s all good. If you’ve got a mixed ability party, this is a great choice for the whole team.
The Glentress Red Route
A new section of trail has been opened to replace Pennels Vennel (which had to be closed due to risk of windblow).
Red: Difficult - 11.2 miles / 18.0 km
This world famous route is sure to put a huge grin on your face with its technical climbs, fabulous views, fast flowing descents, jumps and berms.More information...
The Red Route delivers some of the best riding in the country, including the legendary 'Spooky Wood' - a stunning 1.5km singletrack descent with sweeping bermed bends. The route's best ridden from the trailhead at Glentress Peel and is recommended for experienced riders only.
The Glentress Black Route
Black: Severe - 18.1 miles / 29.0 km
A long, technical ride that includes epic climbing and thrilling descents.More information...
Packed with epic climbs and nail-biting descents that’ll make you smile from ear to ear, the Black Route is a physically demanding ride.
Glentress Freeride Park
Orange: Extreme - 0.9 miles / 1.4 km
Packed full of advanced level features, the Freeride Park is an ideal spot for riders looking to push their skill levels, style it up, learn new tricks or just hang out and ride with friends. It's located right next to the Buzzards Nest Car Park.More information...
Check out the range of features big and small, which are perfect for practising your bike skills on. Whether you’re a novice freerider or a seasoned pro, there are areas built to suit all levels of experience. Read the onsite info panels before you jump on your bike.
For a day you’ll remember, try the tree-top course at Go Ape. Climb rope ladders up into the branches and experience the thrills of trekking from tree to tree, some 40 feet above the forest floor! There’s a really long zip wire to finish, whizzing high over the ponds in the valley.
Tweed Valley Osprey Project
Since the 1990s, ospreys have been coming to the Tweed Valley to breed. The Tweed Valley Osprey Project has been working to make sure they’re protected and can find good places to nest. In the Tweed Valley Wild Watch centre you can see live footage of these powerful birds and find out more about how they’re making a comeback.
We've just installed a brand new observation beehive in the Wild Watch - but don't worry, the bees will be behind glass so you can get a really good look and they can go about their business undisturbed.
We've been working with Scottish Borders Council on a masterplan for potential future developments at Glentress. The vision includes a central recreation area at Glentress Peel - including new visitor facilities, walking and mountain bike trails. It also identifies an area for cabin-style holiday accommodation.
Scottish Borders Council held a public consultation on the masterplan, and in February 2016 the Glentress Masterplan Supplementary Guidance was approved.
How to get here
Glentress is just 1 ½ miles (2.4 km) east of Peebles on the A72. The main car park at Glentress Peel is off the entrance drive to the right, next to The Gateway, at grid reference NT 286 397. More trails start from the Buzzard’s Nest car park, higher in the forest at grid reference NT 286 397
EH45 8NB is the nearest postcode.
Buses to Melrose pass the entrance to the forest. Check Traveline Scotland for timetables and fares.
When you arrive
Use our map of facilities at Glentress to orientate yourself when you first arrive in the forest.
The Tweed Valley Forest Park has many other beautiful forests to explore. If you want to get away from the crowds head for Cademuir, just the other side of Peebles. Cardrona has miles of trails through tranquil woodland and at Caberston, outside Innerleithen, you can climb to an Iron Age hill fort.
Share your experience
For questions and complaints, please contact us directly.