Ae Forest

Click here for route mapA linear route through Ae Forest for horse-riders, cyclists and walkers was developed as the western arm of the 350km South of Scotland Countryside Trails (SoSCT) network, linking Dumfries & Galloway with the Borders. The trail starts at Ae, which is easily accessed off the A701 north-east of Dumfries, and links through to Beattock and Moffat.  The track is stone surfaced,  of varying gradient and able to withstand use at any time of year.

There are many other tracks linking up with the linear SoSCT route, so if you fancy a circular route you can plan your own according to how far you want to go.

Ae Forest is at the heart of the Seven Stanes mountain bike trails, so this is the ideal place to come with friends, family or a partner keen to go off and explore on their bike while you head off on your horse.

Finding your way

You can download a map of the Ae riding route (and Ae Forest section of the Romans and Reivers Route) from Maps of the other sections of the Romans and Reivers route can be downloaded form the same website.

The Ae Riding route is clearly way marked throughout on the ground, and is easy to follow – just look out for the SoSCT arrows and Romans and Reivers logo disks. Although the mapped route is linear, there are many other forest tracks and rides which you can combine with the formally promoted SoSCT route to create your own circular routes of different lengths. Other linking paths and tracks may be waymarked as part of the Seven Stanes mountain bike routes, or as walking routes, but only the linear Ae Forest to Beattock route is waymarked as part of the SoSCT network.

Larger scale maps should be used to follow routes on the ground, such as OS Landranger Maps 1:50,000 no. 78 (Nithsdale and Annandale) and Pathfinders 1:25,000 no. 495 (Moffat), no. 505 (Thornhill), no. 506 (St Ann’s and Boreland) and no. 517 (Dunscore and Ae).


There is ample parking provision for trailers and horseboxes at Ae, and at the eastern end of the route where it exits the forest above Beattock just east of Kinnelhead, but please note that the Crooked Road which leads up to the latter is single track in places and some horse boxes may struggle with the gradient.

Watch out for...

Be aware that in parts of Ae Forest you may meet walkers (some with dogs) and mountain bikers. And remember that this is a working forest. Where felling or other forestry operations are underway, any necessary diversions will be clearly signed. Please respect warning signs and keep clear of machinery or stacked timber.

Linking routes

From Beattock you can continue east along the SOSCT network to Eskdalemuir, where you might like to visit the Samye Ling Tibetan Monastery.  For further details of this route, click here.

From Eskdalemuir, the SOSCT network links to the old Roman Road through Craik Forest and then on to Hawick, where it links with the Hawick Circular Riding Route and Buccleuch Country Rides.

More about the route

Ae Forest offers a network of forest tracks and minor roads for horse-riders, cyclists and walkers of all ages and abilities to enjoy throughout the year. The forests are managed for timber production, recreation and conservation. Birds of prey such as short-eared owl, buzzard and goshawk regularly nest and hunt in the forest.

The views along the Ae Forest Route are forever changing. As you start to climb uphill with your horse away from Ae look south to the Solway Firth and Criffel. On a clear day you see as far as the Lake District hills. As you follow the riding trail further north Queensberry and Wee Queensberry come into view and dominate the skyline. Further north still to Earshaig the Southern Upland and Moffat Hills form a backdrop to the narrow Crooked Road winding its way down to Beattock.