A SCOTTISH village is hoping to become a mecca for gravel cycling with the opening of the UK’s first waymarked trails.

Three new gravel cycling routes opened in Aberfoyle, Stirling, today for different levels of ability as part of a joint project by Bike Trossachs and Gravelfoyle – a new tourism brand for the area.

The routes take riders through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

The 10km, 20km, 30km waymarked routes start and finish in the centre of Aberfoyle and venture deep into Loch Ard Forest, exploring the areas surrounding Loch Ard and Loch Chon.

Gravel cycling is a new discipline which aims to bring the experience of road cycling to the safety of mountain biking.

Kenny Auld, head of visitor services at Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, said: “Aberfoyle is already a great destination for all types of cycling and these three routes highlight the best of the forest road network with amazing views of Ben Lomond and Loch Ard.”

Funding for the three waymarked gravel routes, said to be the first in the UK, has come from Forth Valley and Lomond LEADER, Forestry and Land Scotland, Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park and The Strathard Development Trust.

They have all committed to providing support for the future development of access infrastructure in the national park.

Aberfoyle has previously run an annual gravel cycling festival in 2018, 2019 and 2021 under the name of Gravelfoyle, which will now be used as a term to describe the gravel cycling opportunities offered.

The event established Aberfoyle as a year-round destination for cycling and has brought economic benefits to local businesses in the area.

Enda McLoughlin, Chair for Bike Trossachs CIC, said: “We have seen a definite increase in outdoor, active tourism in the area over the last few years, with cycling leading that change.

“We are harnessing this success, and are delighted to be the community lead for this local initiative, providing beautiful and safe routes for locals and tourists, to explore the Loch Ard Forest.”