Five Beautiful Places in Dumfries and Galloway
Five Beautiful Places in Dumfries and Galloway
Here are five absolutely gorgeous places you can visit in southern Scotland! It’s perfect for a little road trip or a weekend away.
The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Caerlaverock is a truly spectacular place to visit at any time of year.
This vast protected area of wetlands in the Solway Firth is home to a great variety of wildlife including many wintering water birds like barnacle geese and beautiful whooper swans – pictured here – to resident barn owls and badgers.
As well as the wetlands and pools there are also meadows that bloom in spring and summer with wild flowers.
There are strategic hides and observatories from which to view the wildlife and footpaths span the reserve out to the coast.
From the beach you can look across the Solway Firth to the impressive off-shore Robin Rigg Wind Farm.
WWT Caerlaverock is a must see in Dumfries and Galloway, if the huge flocks of geese don’t impress you, the picturesque landscape surely will.
WWT Caerlaverock is open 10.00 – 17.00 every day, throughout the year except Christmas day.
Entry is £7.99 per adult and there are concessions. (2015 prices)
There is an on site cafe and gift shop.
2. Loch Ken
Loch Ken is a beautiful freshwater loch near to the south-eastern edge of Galloway Forest Park.
The loch is home to the Galloway Activity Centre where you can go sailing, kayaking, paddle-boarding and windsurfing on the water.
There is also a picturesque campsite on the lake edge: Loch Ken Holiday Park. I can recommend this park as we stayed there in the old camper a couple of years ago and it was from there that I took the photos of the loch one frosty March morning.
If you enjoy walking there is the popular Parton Heritage Trail that heads off from the campsite through farmland and woodland to panoramic viewpoints over the loch.
At the northern end of Loch Ken is RSPB Ken-Dee Marshes (open all year – free admission) which is another great spot for seeing wintering water birds.
Nearby Galloway Forest Park has been given official dark sky status meaning it’s an absolutely fabulous place to see the night sky in all its glory.
3. A Sky Full of Red Kites at Bellymack Hill Farm
Ok, so this more of a beautiful bird than it is a place, but my goodness, it really is incredible to get so close to these magnificent birds of prey.
Red kites were hunted to extinction in England and Scotland in the 19th Century, just a few birds hung on in Wales – I even saw one of these few birds in 1990 of a childhood holiday!
It was some Welsh landowners that set to saving the British population of kites and after the world’s longest wildlife protection programme the red kite has been reintroduced to England and Scotland, where they are now thriving again.
At Bellymack Hill Farm Red Kite Feeding Station the kites are fed daily and large flocks of the birds circle and swoop in for chunks of meat. It is quite fantastic to experience and it’s really exciting it see these once rare birds so close and so numerous.
Red kites are easily identifiable with their russet plumage and forked tail: spectacular birds!
The kites are fed daily at 14.00 and the feeding station is open 12.00 – 1600 every day, including Christmas Day!
Entry is £4 per adult (2015 prices)
There is a hide with binoculars and a scope set up. You can also experience the birds outside too.
4. Neolithic Wonders Near Creetown
Heading west along the A75 towards Creetown will bring you to some enigmatic ancient wonders: the neolithic chambered tombs of Cairn Holy.
On a hill overlooking Wigtown Bay are two remarkably complete 4000 year old burial chambers.
Cairn Holy I (below) has a striking stone facade which provided both a narrow entrance to part of the tomb and also a backdrop for an outer forecourt. Originally the tomb would have been covered over whereas now the internal areas are open to the sky.
Just a few metres away is Cairn Holy II, this tomb (in the top photograph) is different in design and the huge capstone covering the inner town is still in situ, balanced for millennia.
It is quite something to see and I find these ancient sites so atmospheric and captivating.
Torhouse is a neat wide circle of nineteen dumpy stones with a three stone feature in the centre.
Again, this historic site dates back around 4000 years.
The Cairn Holy tombs are 6 miles south east of Creetown. There is parking off the A75 and it’s a walk up the hill to the tombs.
The site is managed by Historic Scotland and it is free to explore.
Torhouse Stone Circle is located in the side of the B733 4 miles west of Wigtown.
5. Woods of Cree
This lovely woodland –an RSPB reserve – is tucked away along a minor road north of Newton Stewart, it is the largest ancient woodland in the south of Scotland and makes a happy wander throughout the year.
Trails weave up through the trees over babbling burns and along tracks, streams break over waterfalls and birds twitter in the foliage.
In springtime the woodland is carpeted in bluebells when summer migrants appear while winter visiting birds head over in the autumn.
There is a small carpark for Wood of Cree 5 miles along a minor road above Newton Stewart, it is signposted to the reserve.
The reserve is free to visit and open throughout the year.
There is a picnic area and reserve map in the carpark.
A map showing where all the beauty spots listed here are:
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Have you any recommendations for Dumfries and Galloway? Have you been?