This is the easier of the two routes. Fine views of the lochs and hills.
Clatteringshaws Loch was formed in 1935 when the River Dee was dammed. The water is piped to Glenlee power station. This was the first large scale hydro-electric power scheme that was developed in Scotland; it preceded those in the highlands which were all developed after World War 2.
The wild goats which you may see as you cycle through this area are feral goats (domestic goats which have gone wild). Their young are born in January and February so you are likely to see them if you are going through in the spring. If goats are disturbed they make an explosive hiss through their nostrils, this can carry half a mile. Roe deer are also quite common.
The routes here have Clatteringshaws Loch as their focal point and offer good views of the loch and the Galloway hills. Near to the loch and the A712 is Clatteringshaws Forest Wildlife Centre. This has a tea room, and a set of high-quality displays illustrating local wildlife. The routes involve some cycling on the public road, however the A712 is fairly quiet. Bear in mind that there will be other users of the forest, walkers on the Southern Upland Way for example. Warn them if you come up from behind and say thank you if they give way. Keep clear of any timber operations. The other route is hillier and is classed as a mountain bike route.
This could be done on any wide tyred bike and could be suitable for children. More than half of it is on a tarmac surface, two miles of this being on the A712. The description here assumes starting at the visitor centre, going round the route anti-clockwise. After a left turn out of the visitor centre there is another left turn after a mile to enter the forest. After an initial flat section there's a gentle climb past Craigenbay, then another left turn to a dirt road dropping to loch level. You meander along by the shore for a little, then begins a slow climb following the Southern Upland Way walking route, turning left to cross the River Dee. Quite a lot of the trees here have been cut down recently, not so attractive but it does give good views of the hills.
After this the route then becomes hillier, with a climb then a rapid descent to the tarmac road where a left turn returns you to the loch.
There are two link routes, the northern one leading to Glen Trool via Loch Dee and the southern leading to Kirroughtree Forest via Old Edinburgh Road. There are currently mountain bike routes in both of these places (see other routes) and further developments are planned. The route to Glen Trool from Clatteringshaws is part of National Cycle Network route 7, which runs between Glasgow and Carlisle.
Includes short road section where children will need supervised.