Mabie Forest: Foliage and fairies on our final Discovery Ride

If we were in any doubt that these were not our normal ‘Summer rides’ the autumn colours along the Nith as we set off on our final Discovery Ride might have given us a clue. But then again, what better time to head off to the forest than when the leaves are turning?

Cycling along the Whitesands – photo courtesy of John Henry

Certainly others agreed as we had another great turnout, despite increasingly Octoberish weather. As has become routine, we divided into smaller groups and set off at intervals to keep everyone apart – something which also allows us to tailor the rides a bit according to people’s wishes.

The route to Mabie forest is almost entirely off road except for one short stretch along a fairly quiet single track road. It’s not perfect, but it’s a massive improvement on the alternatives of either cycling with traffic on the Dalbeattie Road, instead of along the path, or down the New Abbey Road. The main problem is that it’s still not signed as a route, so very few people know about it, especially the side entrance along the track by Mabie Farm Park. Hence why we run these rides – to show people that you can get there by bike, even if you prefer not to ride along busy roads, and that it’s well within the abilities of most families.

Bikes make great social distancing measures! Photo courtesy of John Henry.

Once at the forest, there was the usual break to chat (still socially distanced of course) while the kids took the opportunity to do a bit of exploring among the trees. Once more, the small groups meant that those who wished to stay a bit longer could, while others could head for home.

We’re sad to come to the end of these rides – we’ve had a really great time running them and we hope everyone who’s come along had enjoyed them too. All good things must come to an end – but that’s not the end of our rides because we’re starting our Winter Ride programme on Sunday with a somewhat longer ride to Ae Forest. At 20 miles, on quiet roads, it’s a bit longer than the 11 miles to Mabie, but still well within the reach of most – you can book your free place here.

And the fairies? Well, we didn’t spot any directly, but we did find the place where they live …

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