For walkers, there are three trails of varying difficulty which take in the forest’s mix of deciduous and coniferous trees, creating a breathing, green link between the town and nearby coast.
There’s plenty of opportunity for spotting the forest’s residents all year round. Keep your eyes peeled for avian visitors – in winter, ducks and gulls make an appearance, whilst the summer sees grey herons nesting in some of the trees around the loch, and little grebes nest amongst the reeds.
The Heart Cleft Stane
At each of the 7 Stanes locations, you’ll find a unique stone sculpture, known as a ‘stane’ in Scotland, reflecting a local myth or legend, and the Dalbeattie Heart Stane is one of the most recognisable.
All of the stanes are found in prominent locations on the different trails in the forests, accessible on foot or by bike, and they range in size from one to three metres high and two to six tons in weight.
A huge piece of granite was donated from a local quarry to make this stane. It symbolises Kirkcudbrightshire’s history as a town that was once the heart of the granite industry in the south of Scotland, and the inscription indicates the places the granite has been exported to across the globe.
Granite from the town’s quarries has been used around the world, from the Thames Embankment in London to a lighthouse in Sri Lanka.
With car-parking, easy-access facilities and a picnic area, it’s easy to make your way to Dalbeattie 7 Stanes. There are public toilets, shops and plenty of places to eat and drink at nearby Dalbeattie.
Please note that parking charges may apply.
Getting to Dalbeattie 7 Stanes
Dalbeattie lies between Dumfries and Castle Douglas at the junction of the A711 and the A710. From Dumfries, take the A710 towards Colvend and look for signs to Town Wood car park on your left after about ½ mile (1km).
For the mountain bike trails, head for the 7stanes Dalbeattie car park. This is also on the A710 about 1/4 mile (1/2km) beyond Town Wood.
DG5 4QU is the nearest postcode for Sat Nav.
(Trail information: Forestry Commission Scotland)