The shortest place name in Britain for one of the largest forests in the country – with something for everyone

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. Our guide map to the Forests of the Southern Uplands will help you explore all the local trails.


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Accessibility information

The cafe and bike shop have additional accessibility advice to help you plan your trip. Click the button for more information from DisabledGO.


Parking (charge) Toilets Cafe or refreshments Picnic area Walking Mountain biking Horse riding Viewpoint

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.

Opening hours for the cafe, toilets and bike shop are:

  • 10am to 4pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
  • 10am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday

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 for 2016 will be valid until 10th January 2017. New permits will be on sale from the 5th January on and can be obtained by contacting the District Office in Ae via phone on 0300 067 6900 or by emailing

Walking trails

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Accessibility information

The Ae Riverside Trail has additional accessibility advice to help you plan your trip. Click the button for more information from DisabledGO.

Cycling trails

Mountain biking trails

7stanes logo

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 1.07MB) shows the trails.

Business opportunity

Coming soon: mountain bike uplift at Forest of Ae and/or Innerleithen. Register here or contact us for guidance on how to receive this and other Forestry Commission Scotland alerts.

Trail update (6th Sept): All trails are open.

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.

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: Dumfries and Borders Forest District

Address: Ae Village, Parkgate, Dumfries

Postcode: DG1 1QB

Telephone: 0300 067 6900


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.

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.

Nearby places

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.

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For questions and complaints, please contact us directly.