Cycling at our places

As a great way to have fun, keep fit, and escape the city, cycling is one of Scotland’s favourite outdoor activities. All cyclists have a right to access Scotland’s outdoors and we love welcoming cyclists at Trust places. To help you gain the most from your ride and to help us look after the precious places in our care, here’s everything you need to know if youre planning to bring your bike on your next visit.

At our places

Enjoy – You are welcome here with your bike

Share – Please respect the needs of others

Protect – Keep to paths as much as possible

Arriving by bike

Many of our visitors and members choose to cycle to our places. To get you to your destination, whether that’s one of our iconic castles or historic gardens, there are cycling-friendly routes and trails to choose from across Scotland.

The National Cycle Network offers comprehensive information of their routes in Scotland.

Check the property pages on our website for bike facilities at each place, located under the Planning Your Visit section. Here you can find out what bike facilities are offered and more information such as the location and number of bike racks.

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Exploring our places

To help you get the most from your visit, Trust rangers and other staff will happily advise on route choice and current ground conditions at their respective properties, including areas suitable for cycling and areas to avoid.

At our places, especially at historic Trust buildings and in Trust gardens, please check with a member of the team where riding is permitted. Leave bikes in bike racks (where provided), and to protect our historic places please never chain bikes to railings or buildings.

At Trust places you’re likely to encounter sites with sensitive and/or designated ecological, geological or historical features, including notable species. Please take care not to damage or disturb such features, consider your route, use existing tracks and follow any onsite signage. You can check in advance if your route choice crosses sensitive sites either by contacting the Trust place team or checking NatureScot’s map of protected sites.

You’ll also find grazing animals like cattle, sheep and horses at, or on the way to, many of our sites. Please slow down and keep your distance from livestock and other animals, even if they’re on the other side of a fence or wall. This will avoid spooking them and causing stampedes that can put animals, property, and you or other people in danger.

To plan ahead, get in touch with our teams who will be happy to help. Contact details are displayed in the Planning Your Visit section of each Trust property’s webpage.

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Highland highlight: Balmacara Estate

Great for pedal-powered explorers

A sprawling Highland crofting estate on the Lochalsh peninsula, the beautiful Balmacara Estate has 27km of public footpaths that weave through townships and into woodlands, over hills and along the coastline.

Different bike-friendly routes are marked to help you ride safely and see the sights, whether that’s the views across to Skye, the ancient woodland of the Coille Mhòr, or some of the interesting wildlife that lives in the area!

A view from a wooded hillside looking down over the village of Plockton on the shore of Loch Carron.
A view at Balmacara across the village of Plockton

Riding responsibly

Our special places are all home to sensitive and protected features, and welcome hundreds of visitors every day. Please ride responsibly to make it safe for others and help us look after our precious habitats.

Shared paths

  • Slow down and give way if necessary, especially on steep narrow paths and for pedestrians and horses.
  • Ride at a speed that does not alarm other path users or nearby animals, including dogs, wildlife and livestock.
  • Let others know if you’re about to pass with a bell or (polite) shout.
  • On narrow paths, please dismount rather than riding off-path in order to avoid others, as this erodes path edges and can damage habitats.
  • Ultimately, good communication and considerate riding are key for all encounters.

Wet/muddy/peaty tracks

  • To protect habitats and for your safety, plan your routes according to weather, ground conditions and your abilities as a rider (making sure you are suitably equipped). In anything other than the driest weather, avoid routes that are known to be waterlogged, soft or peaty. Even occasional bike use on soft peaty ground can lead to erosion.
  • Where possible, ride through smaller puddles rather than around them.
  • For longer wet or muddy sections that can’t be avoided, dismount and walk your bike.

On high mountains/plateaux

  • These areas are more sensitive to erosion and where possible we would prefer cyclists to avoid them – please follow Trust advice if a particular place or route is considered unsuitable for cycling.
  • Where you feel you are able to ride responsibly, please keep your speed in check and avoiding sudden braking or skidding, especially on downhill sections.
  • Don’t ride around steps or hill drains and try to use existing tracks.
  • Keep an eye out for wildlife, particularly during the breeding season (April–August). Ground-nesting birds such as ptarmigan and dotterel nest among the rocks and tussocks of our high mountains. Avoid disturbing them by keeping to existing tracks in these high places. If you do encounter them, keep your distance. (You can also help us monitor these endangered species by logging sightings on the iRecord app.)
A ptarmigan stands on a slab boulder on a hillside. It has a large, round body with brown mottled feathers. It has a red stripe above its eye.
A ptarmigan at Ben Lomond

Helpful resources

Mountain biking centres

If you’re looking for a mountain biking adventure during your trip to Scotland, there are world-class centres designed and managed with biking in mind. You can expect to find clearly marked routes, useful facilities, and even some fun mountain biking features like drops, jumps, and ‘skinnies’.

Each one features various colour-coded trails suited to different interests and abilities. Routes vary from ‘single-track trails’ (narrow and technical) to ‘gravel rides’ (longer and flatter) and lots more in between. Once you’ve picked your trail, it’s time to helmet up and hit the tracks!

There are popular centres near our places, so you can combine your visits:

7stanes centres which span the south of Scotland, from Glentress in Peebles to Glentrool in Galloway.
Close to:
Threave Garden & Nature Reserve, Grey Mare’s Tail and Culzean Castle & Country Park

Nevis Range near Fort William, which is home to the only mountain gondola in the UK.
Close to:
Glencoe NNR and Glenfinnan Monument

More information

Do the Ride Thing (Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland)

Provides mountain biking guidance and advice from industry experts, for all types of riding in Scotland from urban centres to the high hills.

Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Your comprehensive guide to responsible outdoor access and responsible land management in Scotland.

The National Cycle Network in Scotland

E-Bike regulations – GOV.UK

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