Blairadam Forest dates back to the 18th century when a chap called Sir William Adam bought the estate and planted trees to enhance the landscape. The Adam family (no connection to Morticia) still own an estate adjacent to the forest and one of the current generation can occasionally be seen MTBing in the forest named in his family’s honour.
During WWI much of the original Adam’s work was undone as the forest was heavily felled as part of the war effort. Over subsequent years the forest hosted industrial operations including coal mining and a brickworks. The remains of these are still visible today and their legacy has provided the local trail pixies with some of the materials used in their trailbuilding efforts.
The forest as it stands now is largely a result of Forestry Commission Scotland’s (FCS) work replanting with mixture of conifers like the Scots Pine, naturally and deciduous trees like Birch. – Like FCS’s other forests, it’s both a commercial operation and a leisure facility home to forest roads, a network of walker’s paths, equestrian facilities and mountain bike trails.
The Blairadam Forest is home to a network of access roads, criss-crossed with a series of singletrack trails which date back to the early 1990’s. The local trail pixies – a group called *Bike: Blairadam*, have been working with FCS in the forest since 2004 to maintain and armour the existing trails as well as building new sections of trail in the forest.
Blairadam isn’t a trail centre like Coed Y Brenin et al , but it is a ‘venue’ for riding with specific mountain bike trails which, like the trail centres, have varying degrees of difficulty. Don’t expect hardcored motorways in Blairadam – certain areas are ‘armoured’, but many sections are ‘natural’. Once your tyres are off the access roads they’ll hit skinny singletrack, with a full compliment of obstacles: rocks, roots and mud, bridged ditches and the like, snaking through tree cover of varying density. The trail doesn’t have an official grading per se but the local riders and FCS have reached a consensus that compared to trail centre standards it’s a mix of blue, red and black trails.
Waymarking is currently not in place, so for the time being the best way of finding your way round is hitching up with *Bike: Blairadam* and joining one of their regular guided rides, usually held on Sundays. You can hook up with the group via their website www.blairadam.com. If you’d rather explore on your own then the site does have a basic map showing the main lines and a loop with approx 400m of climbing, similar to some red routes. As ever though the best lines will take a little time and patience to find, but you will be rewarded.
- Food: Baxters at Kathellan Farm Park – halfway between the M90 J4 slip and the forest entrance
- Parking: Parking for up to 30 cars in the main car park. Parking for 6 cars at the top car park.
- Spares/Bike Shops/Bike hire: Sandy Wallace Cycles, Inverkeithing – http://www.swc.co.uk
By car: M90 motorway, J4, turn left(if travelling northbound)/right(if southbound) and enter the forest via the main entrance, about 200m up from the sliproad, on the right. The main car park is at the bottom of the hill.
By train: your closest station is Cowdenbeath. The forest is just under 4 miles from the station. Follow the signs to Kelty and, from Kelty, follow the signs for the M90. Continue past the sliproads and enter the forest via the main gate, as above.
Postcode for sat navs: – KY4 0JQ