The Attractions of South West Scotland
For Your Interest and Enjoyment

Return to : Dalbeattie Domain

[Introduction] [South Ayrshire] [Mull of Galloway] [Machars]
[Galloway Forest Park] [Kirkcudbright and Gatehouse] [Dalbeattie and Castle Douglas]
[Nithsdale and Dumfries] [Annandale and Eskdale]
[Dumfries & Galloway Golf Links] [Nature Reserves in Dumfries & Galloway]

Galloway Forest Park :

Much of the inland part of Dumfries and Galloway is within this massive area, whose extensive plantations of conifers blanket the hills above the Lochs of Ken and Clatteringshaws. But the Park extends west into South Ayrshire, and outlying Forests of Dalbeattie and Mabie come within sight of the main regional capital of Dumfries. Most of the plantations are under the Forestry Commission's control, which is slowly changing the serried ranks of woodland into a less-industrial habitat of greater attraction to both wildlife and the discerning visitor. Parts of the Park are a birdwatcher's paradise; Barn Owls and Crossbills are not common elsewhere, but they, Buzzards, the occasional Golden Eagle, and most of Britain's raptors, can be found in this area.

Every visitor finds their own favourite attraction in the vastness of the Galloway Forest Park. Those listed here are more than the ones quoted in various guides, but the writer would add Clatteringshaws Dam and picturesque New Galloway itself.

The Galloway Forest Park covers part of the Carrick Hills which go into South Ayrshire so you are advised to inspect that area as well.

Quality Farm Holidays can offer Bed and Breakfast or Self-Catering at the following locations in or near the Galloway Forest Park and the Carrick Hills. For your convenience, these are divided into western and eastern areas :-
(1) Western End (Carrick Moors and Glen Trool) :
Bankfield, Glenluce, - Bed and Breakfast.
Glengennet Farm, Barr, - Bed and Breakfast and Self-Catering.
Blair Farm, Barrhill, - Bed and Breakfast.
Challoch Farm, Newton Stewart, - Bed and Breakfast.
(2) Eastern End (Carsphairns, Loch Ken and Moniaive) :
High Park, Balmaclellan, - Bed and Breakfast.
Craig of Balmaghie, Laurieston, - Bed and Breakfast.
Balmaghie House, Glenlochar, - Bed and Breakfast and Self-Catering.
Craigadam, Castle Douglas - Bed and Breakfast and Self-Catering.
Meiklewood, Ringford, - Bed and Breakfast.

Glen Trool and Carrick Moors :

This area is to either side of the Rivers Dee and Minnoch flowing from the north and west down to Newton Stewart and Wigtown Bay. At its western and southern edges it is bounded by the Mull of Galloway and the Machars, with South Ayrshire to the northeast.

Southern Uplands Way : This impressive long-distance path runs all the way from the Irish Sea at Portpatrick's harbour across the Scottish Borders to Cockburnspath on the North Sea. Quality Farm Holidays can offer lodgings for the dedicated walker at Stranraer, Glenluce, Bargrennan, Barrhill and St. John's Town of Dalry. You may plan a walking holiday around these stopovers with confidence.

Glen Trool & Bruce's Stone : This majestic glen is one of the most impressive sights in southern Scotland. Has the best-known Bruce's Stone near it, marking successful battles. From here one can walk up the Merrick (2764 feet), highest peak in southern Scotland. Caldons Campsite is nearby. Warning : Midges can be a problem at all forest campsites.
Telephone : 01671-402420.

Glen Trool Visitor Centre : Access to forest trails, cycle paths and footpaths from here, including route to the Bruce's Stone and access point to the Southern Uplands Way. Toilets and parking.
Telephone : 01671-840302.


Queen's Way Tourist Route (A712) :

This road from New Galloway at the head of Loch Ken runs west and south through the Galloway Hills towards Minnigaff near Newton Stewart. Its major features are as follows :-

Raiders' Road : A ten-mile forestry road along the route of a drove-road used by reivers to smuggle stolen cattle. Runs from a mile north of Mossdale Post Office on the A762 up to the Queen's Way near Clatteringshaws. Major features on this forest drive include a variety of forest walks and cycle tracks, picnic sites at Stroan Loch and the Otter Pool, the abundant wildlife and forest sculptures.
Telephone (Forestry Commission, Castle Douglas Office) : 01556-503626.

Clatteringshaws Forest Wildlife Centre : An indoor audiovisual display on the forest wildlife. Tearoom, gift shop, toilets, forest walks, reconstruction of Iron Age roundhouse. Raploch Moss Bruce's Stone nearby.
Telephone : 01644-420285.

Galloway Red Deer Range : This remarkable feature has a viewpoint near the road from which deer can be seen in the Range. Visitors to the Range can also walk amongst the red deer, photograph them and handle them under supervision.
Mobile Telephone : 0860-853351.

Murray's Birthplace : Car park and short walk through woods to remains of the smallholding where this notable scholar was born. Very scenic. Interpretation boards.

Wild Goat Park : This is a fenced reserve for the goats that originally grazed the uplands. Car park at Talnotry and roadside laybys. Warning : The goats are shameless beggars, so watch out for your clothes and your fingers. Very photogenic and natural poseurs.

Talnotry Waterfall (Mare's Tail) : This liitle forty-foot waterfall must not be confused with the Grey Mare's Tail at Moffat. Near Talnotry and the goats. Sheer walls of the waterfall gorge have preserved a remarkable range of wild flowers from sheep and goats. A real gem on a hot summer's day.

Murray's Monument : Walks near Talnotry, some near old mine workings. The monument itself offers a good view along the wooded glen. Caldons Campsite nearby. Warning :Midges can be a problem at all forest campsites.

Glen of the Bar Viewpoint : A new viewpoint down the valley towards the west. Car parking and picnic site.


Loch Ken :

This is the large part-natural reservoir of the Dee Valley Hydro-Electric project. It is a well-known fishing and sailing venue. The attractions beside Loch Ken are as follows :-

Polmaddy Settlement : A Galloway village that flourished before the improvements and clearances of the 1800s. Substantial ruins of houses, inn, workshops, barns and mill, with onsite interpretation boards.
Telephone (Forestry Commission, Castle Douglas Office) : 01556-503626.

Loch Ken Marina : Motor boat hire and launching facilities.
Telephone : 01644-470220.

Galloway Sailing Centre : Royal Yachting Association dinghy sailing, windsurfing and powerboat courses. Scottish Canoeing Association canoe courses. Kayaking and open (Canadian) canoeing also available. Launching facilities. Quad bikes and mountain bikes for hire. N.B. : Rock-climbing and mountain walking will be available under skilled supervision shortly.
Telephone : 01644-420626. Fax : As phone.
Website : http://freespace.virgin.net/galloway.sc/.
E-mail : galloway.sc@virgin.net.

Loch Ken/Dee Marshes - : Nature trail with viewing hide, woodland and marshes. More details of this and other nature reserves in Dumfries and Galloway in Nature Reserves
. Telephone : 01671-402861.


Other Attractions of the Park :

Carsphairn Heritage Centre : At the north end of Carsphairn village in a converted cottage. Visitor centre, car park and toilets. Timespan display of parish history, reference material for researchers.
Telephone : 01644-460653.

Kirroughtree Visitor Centre : Beside the Stronord activities centre. Visitor centre, tearoom, adventure playground, picnic sites, toilets, car park. Good nature pond, various forest walks and drives.
Telephone : 01671-402165. Fax : n/a. Website : n/a. E-mail : n/a.

Galloway Footwear Ltd. Clog and Shoe Workshop, Balmaclellan : An unusual and traditional form of footwear made by Godfrey Smith at his workshop. Come and try our range of footwear. Free Entry.
Telephone : 01644-420465. Fax : 01644-420777.

Lyrical Scotland Photographic Gallery, Parton House : An extensive range of Galloway photographic images by Allan Wright. Postcards, calendars, books and CD-ROMS covering the beautiful scenery of this area. A good visit in all weathers. Parking adjacent and entry free.
Telephone : 01644-470260. Fax : 01644-470202.
E-mail : allan@lyricalscotland.com Website : www.lyricalscotland.com

Knockengorroch Studio : Two artists and a potter interpreting the area in paint and clay. Telephone : 01644-460654


Golf Links and Courses :

For details of golf courses go to Dumfries & Galloway Golf Links. There is one upland course at New Galloway in the Galloway Forest Park.


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All text and images © 1999 Richard Edkins of Dalbeattie Internet.
Attractions of South West Scotland website started 17th January 1998.
Last updated 8th May 1999.