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.
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 the Solway Coast will help you explore Mabie and other woodlands in this wonderful part of Scotland.
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 public toilets and plenty of places to eat, drink and shop at nearby Dumfries.
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
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.
½ miles / 0.8 km 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.
1 ¼ miles / 2.1 km 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 a viewpoint above Marthrown of Mabie, and return down charming Dalshinnie Glen.
Mostly wide, firm gravel surface with some uneven sections. Steep slopes, particularly up to viewpoint. Includes short flights of steps and one bridge. Beware vehicles and other users.
2 ¾ miles / 4.4 km Allow 1½ hours
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.
Please be aware of vehicles traveling at low speeds or loading on forest roads. Always observe warning signage and follow all instructions given by operators and banks people. We ask that all visitors do not climb on stacked timber.
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.
4 ½ miles / 7.3 km Allow 2½ 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.
Due to ongoing tree felling operations there will be a diversion in place on the Lochaber Trail just after Dalshinnie pond. Please follow any diversions/closure signage.
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.
5 miles / 8.1 km 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 the original mountain biking venue in the south west of Scotland and a highlight of the 7stanes trail centres.
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.
The Mabie 7stanes map (PDF 670MB) shows the trails.
Trail update (28th April): Due to ongoing tree felling work in the Marthrown Hill area the Big Views (green) and Woodhead (blue) Loops are closed. The Phoenix Trail (red) is open with one diversion at the Elevator - which should be open by 19th May 2017.
Be aware of vehicles traveling at low speeds or loading on forest roads. Please observe warning signage and follow all instructions given by operators and banks people. Visitors are reminded never to climb on stacked timber.
Big Views Loop (closed)
Green: Easy - 5.0 miles / 8.0 km
Gentle slopes and sweeping scenery give you an easy enjoyable ride.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.
Woodhead Loop (closed)
Blue: Moderate - 6.3 miles / 10.0 km
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.More information...
Explore the woods on forest roads and easy singletrack, this route is the perfect option for novices looking to build their confidence.
Phoenix Trail (diverted)
There is a diversion in place from post 50 to the end of the trail.
Red: Difficult - 11.9 miles / 19.0 km
A mixed cross-country route in stunning woodland on natural trails and singletrack.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.
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.
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.
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.
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For questions and complaints, please contact us directly.