Aberfoyle, which is affectionally known as Gravelfoyle, has announced the UK's first waymarked gravel biking trails. There are three routes of varying difficulty to cater to all types of gravel riders.
The Faerie Loop (10km), Aqueduct Loop (20km), and Lomond View (30km) explore the Loch Ard Forest, exploring the areas surrounding Loch Ard and Loch Chon which lay East of the village of Aberfoyle. The routes themselves are almost completely off-road and the Gravelfoyle.com (opens in new tab) has a detailed breakdown of what to expect from each route.
All three routes start and finish in the village and are marked by the posts to help keep you on track – of course, we recommend you still take a map or GPS for navigation. If you are looking for something longer, Aberfoyle has tons of off-piste gravel tracks that can be linked together for a truly epic day. In fact, Bike Trossachs and Gravelfoyle.com reckons there are over 200km of off-road, multi-surface forestry tracks and trails, gravel roads and paths within a 12km radius of Aberfoyle.
You have to be living under a rock not to see the extraordinary rise in popularity of gravel recently. The announcement of this waymarked trail could offer a significant boost in the discipline and serve as a blueprint for further development across the UK, much in the same way trail centers did for mountain biking back in the early 2000s.
It's undeniable the benefits that waymarked and graded trails and routes can offer, not only for riders but the local economy as well. Glentress trail center was one of the first of its kind and alongside Innerleithen, and the other 7 Stanes, has provided a huge stimulation to local economies as well as attracting major sporting events, including the cross-country and marathon events of next year’s UCI Cycling World Championships which will be held at Glentress.
Aberfoyle has always been a popular destination for local gravel riders, however, the popularity of the area greatly increased following the success of the Dukes Weekender, a community-run, family-friendly, gravel cycling festival held in the area. Dukes Weekender coined the hashtag 'gravelfoyle' and the event is gearing up for its fourth year which will be held in September, if you want to take part you will need to put yourself on the waiting list though as tickets for this year's edition are already sold out.