Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) has launched a public consultation on making the centre more accessible


Dalbeattie Forest, one of Scotland’s first official trail centres, is to be reworked with “enhancements” to the existing red and black routes, and its blue and green trails widened and opened up to walkers, wheelchair users and even horse riders all at the same time.

Part of the Visitor Masterplan Concept Consultation from Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS), the idea is to transform the trail centres into “multi-user destinations”, rather than being solely focused on mountain biking. Scotland still hosts many of the best mountain bike routes in the UK, but the nature of trail centres is changing, with gravity-dominated bike parks like Tarland Trails taking their lustre and drawing in riders. 

The Dalbeattie Consultation doesn’t, however, suggest that the trails will be negatively impacted, and is more about attracting more types of people to the forest, including walkers, wheelchair users and horse riders. Clearly though, changing trails to multi-user use will significantly change the way mountain bikers use them, and there are concerns that wider trails will be less attractive for mountain bikers generally.

Glentress recently underwent a consultation and development, but gained four new trails as part of its Master Plan. Chief among them was the red-graded Smells Like Tweed Spirit, a super flowy track with tight turns and a couple of jumps to keep you on your toes.

Dalbeattie Forest Masterplan Need to know:

  • Concept sees green and blue trails redesigned to be wider for better passing
  • Cultural and nature-focused art installations, play areas and wildlife observation points also considered
  • Plans for more car parking and potentially public toilets
  • Enhancements to existing red and black routes proposed
Dalbeattie Masterplan

The Masterplan has several proposals, all with the aim to entice more people to the trails

The Masterplan

Dance if you wanna dance, ride if you wanna ride? The new Masterplan from FLS won’t be stopping anyone riding – in fact it’s centred around drawing more people to the trails. The main takeaway point from the proposal includes making the green and blue trails wider. This will theoretically allow for safer passes to be made by faster or more advanced riders. It also means that the green trail can be enjoyed more easily by walkers, wheelchair users and horse riders at the same times as mountain bikers.

The plan also says that “alongside safety and inclusivity, we’re adding exciting optional features for those seeking to test their abilities.”

The red and black routes, which are renowned for the slabs and technical natures, will “remain exclusive for advanced mountain biking, with this initiative preserving its specialised nature” according to the FLS.

Also looking to be added to the trails are “cultural and nature-focused experiences.” These are set to include wildlife observation points, art installations and interactive play areas – presumably the latter will be well clear of the trails.

It’s important to note these are just concepts at present, and the FLS is asking for people to contribute their ideas and thoughts on the proposals here.

The car park is still set to remain shut until the 31st March, so if you need some other riding inspiration this Easter weekend, check out these 5 trails to ride this winter.