Forestry and Land Scotland to carry out harvesting operations during this time period

Fans of slabs and granite-laden trails will likely be familiar with some of Dalbeattie’s offerings in Scotland, including its 15.5 mile Hardrock Trail red route. This includes the infamous ‘Slab’, as well as some other challenging features. From the beginning of February, however, riders (and walkers) will need to find a new place to park as the Dalbeattie Richorn (7Stanes) car park is set to close until 31st March. Accordingly, riders may wish to find alternative options – you can find inspiration among our guide to the 21 best trails in the UK.

According to Forestry and Land Scotland, which is the organisation that looks after the 7Stanes trails as well as the surrounding forestry, they need to close the car park in order to carry out “harvesting operations.” FLS’ Area Services Visitor Manager, Katharina Koehler, said:

“Unfortunately, the forests here have fallen prey to tree disease Phytophthora ramorum, which mainly affects larch, generally killing the trees. There is no known cure or remedy for this disease. However, felling infected trees helps to slow the movement of the disease to new, unaffected forests.

“For public safety, we will have MTB diversions in place from Dalbeattie Townwood, but car parking spaces here are very limited. We would ask forest visitors to park with consideration to local residents and minimise any impact on businesses by parking in designated areas only.

“While these essential forest works are being completed at Dalbeattie visitors may be interested in exploring our other nearby MTB destinations at Mabie ForestForest of Ae and Kirroughtree.”

The works are expected to be complete by 31st March. If you’re in need of some new trails to discover, why not read our guide to 5 new trails to try this winter.

What is phytophthora ramorum?

This isn’t the first trail centre to suffer with the disease. Last year, Revolution Bike Park was forced to close after discovering the larch trees were infected with phytophthora ramorum (say that fast three times).

The disease may sound like something out of Harry Potter, but it’s a destructive algae organism. It affects up to 150 plant species, and cause damage or death to the plant.

Unfortunately, there are currently no viable chemical treatments for the disease. This means that once identified, larch trees need to be felled or killed quickly to prevent the disease from spreading – which is what’s happening in Dalbeattie.

Riders can minimise the disease spread by washing soil, leaves and mud off their wheels and footwear before leaving the forests. If possible, try and park your car on tarmac or hard-standing to prevent mud etc. from going onto your tyres.