Forest of Ae
Get active at Ae
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.
Time for a bite to eat?
You’ll find delicious refreshments at the Ae café on site, as well as toilets, a bike shop and bike hire.
There are also places to eat and drink at nearby Ae village, or a bit farther afield at Dumfries, Moffat and Thornhill.
Car parking charges
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
Easy - 1.0 miles / 1.6 km - Allow ¾ hours
An easy meander beside the sparkling Water of AeMore information...
Enjoy a gentle stroll beside the river to reach some unusual carved seats beside a bridge over the river – a great place for a picnic.
Mostly wide, flat gravel path. Short section on forest road, which can get muddy after heavy rain. No steps or gates.
Easy - 1.5 miles / 2.4 km - Allow 1 hour
Wander farther along the riverside, weaving amongst soaring Norway spruce trees.More information...
This gentle low-level trail extends the link along the Water of Ae to wind farther into the forest beneath towering Norway spruce trees. As you explore, watch out for red squirrels in the canopy, as well as statuesque herons fishing in the river and plump brown-and-white dippers bobbing up and down before walking underwater in search of insects to eat.
Mostly wide, flat gravel path with grassy sections. Occasional step onto and off the forest road as the path crosses these.
Moderate - 3.5 miles / 5.6 km - Allow 2 hours
Lovely views over the Water of Ae and the coast from the slopes of Green Hill.More information...
This longer route begins at the bridge over the Water of Ae trail before branching off through majestic Norway spruces to climb around the slopes of Green Hill. Your efforts are rewarded when you reach the viewpoint overlooking Queensberry Hill – this 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. Take advantage of the pretty picnic sites beside the Water of Ae on the return journey or just cool your feet in its sparkling shallows.
A mix of surfaces including gravel and grassy paths and forest road. Some moderate slopes and shorter steeper sections. Grassy sections can be muddy after rain.
Ae Valley Route
Green: Easy - 5.6 miles / 9.0 km
Soak in the beauty of the Water of Ae.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.
Find out more about this trail by visiting the 7stanes website.
Larch View Route
Ae Line Trail
Red: Difficult - 15.0 miles / 24.0 km
A rocky ride through the countryside.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.
Get more information on the Ae Line trail at 7stanes.
Orange: Extreme - 0.7 miles / 1.0 km
A technical challenge.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.
Learn more about The Shredder at 7stanes.
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.
Mountain biking at Ae
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.
Wood you believe it?
Ae Forest is one of the largest forests in Britain, covering 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.
Contact Name : Dumfries and BordersDistrict Office Name : Dumfries and Borders
Address : Ae Village
Postcode : DG1 1QB
Telephone : 01387 860247
Email : email@example.com
How to get here
Ae Forest lies close to Ae village, just off the A701 Dumfries to Moffat road.
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 at grid reference NX 984 894.
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', at grid reference NX 983 902. 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.
The attractive woodland of Craigieburn spreads up the valley side from Moffat Water, close to the town of Moffat.
Close to Dumfries, Mabie Forest is buzzing with nature, full of forest fun and always a great escape.
You’ll also find The Hills near Dumfries. Follow the trail through this beautiful mixed deciduous wood to explore a stretch of old railway line that provides a sheltered haven for wildlife.
Our guide map to the Forests of the Southern Uplands will help you explore.