Mabie the best forest to explore...
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.
Time for a break?
There are toilets, including accessible facilities, near the main car park. Please note, due to persistent vandalism the toilet block at Mabie is currently closed until further notice.
The bike shop at Mabie is open from 10am to 4pm, seven days a week until the end of September.
The Shed Cafe is open Monday 10am - 5pm, closed Tuesday and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 10am - 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am - 4pm. Please note, opening hours are weather dependent, and you can contact the cafe on 07881 819927.
You’ll also find refreshments at Mabie House Hotel on site.
There are public toilets and plenty of places to eat, drink and shop at nearby Dumfries.
You can hire bikes from The Shed, just next to the car park. The staff will help you choose a route that’s right for you, too.
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 - 0.5 miles / 0.8 km - Allow ½ hours
This easy trail through Garden Wood appeals to all the senses and is suitable for everyone.More information...
Meander along shady paths or simply sit and enjoy this tranquil woodland garden. Stimulate your senses with furry leaves, trickling water, and chocolate-scented flowers. Look out for wooden wildlife sculptures and a poetry trail along the way.
This trail starts from the Accessible car park.
A wide, flat and mostly smooth gravel path with some gentle slopes. Suitable for wheelchairs and buggies, with no obstacles.
Easy - 1.5 miles / 2.4 km - Allow 1¼ hours
A picturesque circuit of Chinney Field that returns across the wooded Mabie Burn.More information...
This short trail circles the grassy Chinney Field, which is filled with wild flowers in the summer. 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.
Mostly wide, smooth path. Includes a stretch of uneven forest road and grassy sections that can be muddy after heavy rain.
Strenuous - 4.0 miles / 6.4 km - Allow 3¼ hours
A scenic trail that links a series of panoramic viewpoints, with plenty of wildlife-watching opportunities along the way.More information...
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 and enjoy more breath-taking views towards Criffel hill and the Solway as you complete the circuit.
Mostly narrow grassy path, with a section of uneven forest road. Area of decking near Dalshinnie Ponds.
Want to extend this trail?
If you are feeling energetic, you can extend this route by joining the brown Lochaber Trail half way round. Look out for the Orange Link Path, which joins the two routes.
Strenuous - 4.5 miles / 7.2 km - Allow 3 hours
A longer walk with stunning views across the forest to the rolling Galloway hills and sparkling Solway coast.More information...
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.
Mostly wide, uneven forest road with some narrow grassy path sections. Section of steps on the trail.
Want to extend this trail?
If you are feeling energetic, you can extend this route by joining the yellow Nith View Trail half way round. Look out for the Orange Link Path, which joins the two routes.
Moderate - 3.0 miles / 4.8 km - Allow 2 hours
Explore Mabie’s wooded glens and reach a viewpoint with stunning views over the River Nith.More information...
This trail begins along the same route as the Chinney Field Trail, then heads farther up the tree-lined valley to eventually reach a lovely viewpoint and picnic spot. There are panoramic views over the meandering River Nith and towards Dumfries. The route then circles back beneath Marthrown Hill to reach peaceful Dalshinnie Glen.
You might spot the outdoor centre and bunkhouse at Marthrown of Mabie, just below the Nith viewpoint – there’s a reconstructed Iron Age roundhouse here that is available for hire.
A mix of surfaces including wide, smooth path and uneven forest road. One long, moderately steep slope. Short set of steps from the road.
Moderate - 1.0 miles / 1.6 km - Allow ¾ hours
Take in stunning views from the top.More information...
A handy path that also links the Nith View and Lochaber trails making a longer route all around the forest.
Mostly narrow grassy path which can get muddy, also has a section of uneven forest road and an area of decking at the top end of this trail.
Big Views Loop
Green: Easy - 5.0 miles / 8.0 km
Gentle slopes and sweeping scenery.More information...
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.
Red: Difficult - 11.9 miles / 19.0 km
Soar through stunning woodland.More information...
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.
Discover more about the Phoenix Trail at the 7stanes website.
Orange: Extreme - 2.4 miles / 3.8 km
Take a ride on the dark side.More information...
A trail for experts only. Mentally and physically demanding, this extreme trail has been designed to push even the most seasoned mountain biker to their limit.
Before you set off, take a walk along the trail to get a feel for it. You’ll find off-camber step-ups, skinnies, drop-offs and rock features aplenty.
Read more about the Dark Side at 7stanes.
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. There are also lots of family-friendly events, from wildlife walks to den building.
World class mountain biking
Mabie is the original mountain biking venue in the south west of Scotland and a highlight of the 7stanes. The trails cater for beginners right through to the most experienced riders: there’s a skills area for honing your technique, great trails that snake through the woods and the infamous Dark Side experience – definitely one just for the experts. You can hire bikes on site.
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.
A hive of industry
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. Visit the Old Sawmill beside Chinney Field to see how timber was processed at Mabie in the past.
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
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.
Find some other great places to visit near Mabie by visiting the Forests of the Solway Coast page.
Explore picturesque Dalbeattie for its granite trails, woodland adventure and community connections. Follow shady paths to discover its tranquil lochs and burns and glimpses of red squirrels, roe deer, waterfowl and dragonflies. If you’re a mountain biker, Dalbeattie’s technical trails may be your new favourite playground.
You’ll find The Hills just to the north of Mabie Forest. Follow the trail through this beautiful mixed deciduous wood to find a stretch of old railway line that provides a sheltered haven for wildlife including
ferns and lizards.