Half day rides

South of Scotland Countryside Trails offers endless scope for half-day rides, many of which you can link together to make a longer or full day ride.  The following are just a few suggestions.  Full details of the routes are available on the Where to Ride section.

1. Lyne-Stewarton-Eddleston-Shiplaw-Cloich Forest-Stewarton-Lyne circular

A really enjoyable ride, nearly all off-road, mostly on grassy farm and forest tracks, with a short section on very quiet lane.  There is plenty of scope for faster pace when you’re not too busy admiring the wonderful views, and still enjoyable whatever the weather.  Park next to the public toilets or in one of the wide lay-bys on the minor unfenced road between Lyne and Eddleston.

2. Dolphinton - West Linton – Garvald circular

At most half an hour south of Edinburgh, this lovely circular ride follows an old Roman road and a former drove road around the east side of the Pentland Hills.  Park in the large lay-by on the A701 immediately north of Dolphinton.  Although you need to cross the busy A701, visibility is clear and there is a wide grass verge along the very short section of road before you turn off towards Garvald.  Follow the old Roman road from Dolphinton via Ingraston and South Slipperfield to the golf course at West Linton, then head back along the old drove road to Garvald.  For a longer ride, continue south-west on the old drove road to Dunsyre, then follow the minor road back to Dolphinton.

3. West Linton – Stonypath – Baddinsgill circular

You can link this with the ride above to make a longer ride or do it on its own.  Head along the old Roman road north-east from West Linton towards Carlops, branch off at the fingerpost past Stonypath along the hillside to Baddinsgill, return on minor road to West Linton.

4. Biggar - Broughton - Skirling circular

This is a lovely half-day or summer evening ride, approximately two-thirds off-road.  Park next to the golf club house at Biggar.  You can go as fast as you want along the disused railway (provided you watch out for walkers and cyclists) which leads right the way through to Broughton.  Cross the bridge by Broughton Brewery, turn north on the A701 through Broughton, turn left at the café towards Biggar, and immediately right onto the old drove road which leads through to Skirling.  From Skirling follow the minor road back to Biggar.

5. Traquair: The Glen – Cardrona

An enjoyable combination of grassy hill paths and forest tracks with fantastic views and plenty of scope for mixed pace.  Park at Traquair Village Hall or at Cardrona Forest.  From Traquair, head south for a short way up the B709 to Kirkhouse, then turn west on a very quiet lane past Orchard Mains.  Just before Glen House follow the fingerpost north-west up a track, through woodland.  From the gate which leads onto the hill, take the grassy track straight over the burn in front of you, enjoy a good canter around the east side of Orchard Rig to Beards Hill, from where a variety of forest roads and tracks lead through Cardrona Forest.  Link back to Traquair via the Tweed Trails route which leads out of the forest at the quarry west of Howford, back to Traquair on B7062 past Traquair House.


6. Cademuir Hill

All off-road.  Park in Forestry Commission car park in Cademuir Forest (turn on arrival in case the car park gets busy, which it can at weekends).  Forest tracks provide a wide variety of 1-2 hour routes, ideal during bad weather when you appreciate the shelter from the trees.  There is also scope for a longer (still only half day) ride through Cademuir Plantation, down the new track south of Cademuir Hill which joins the minor road just west of the cattle grid.  Pick up one of several tracks which then leads round the west side of The Whaum, past Red Well over to Tantah.  There is a gate at the north-western tip of Cademuir Plantation which allows access back along a track to the car park.  Alternatively you could follow the minor road around Kirkton Manor and Manor Sware.

7. Venlaw-Glentress

Some roadwork to get onto the routes.  No easy parking, other than main car park south of Tweed in Peebles which gets very busy at weekends particularly in summer, or main car parks in Glentress Forest (in which case vary routes).  From the A703 (Peebles to Edinburgh road) take the track past Castle Venlaw Hotel and Venlaw Farm which leads east of Mailingsland Hill and south of Whitfold Hill to Shieldgreen Centre in Glentress.  From Shieldgreen, there are an infinite variety of forest paths and tracks.  For most direct circular route, follow the track south from Shieldgreen east of the Soonhope Burn.  You can either cross the burn below Glenbield to bring you back to where you started on the A703, or continue east of the burn to the A72 (parallel road avoids too much on A72).

8. Traquair: Glengaber to Minch Moor

Follow Tweed Trails route to Glengaber, then take new waymarked link north to forest boundary which links onto forest road which leading to Minchmoor Road, joining with latter just above the bothy at Dumbetha Knowe, turn west back down to Traquair.