Scottish Riviera - 4 to 10 miles
Not far from Castle Douglas at the Solway coast is the East Stewartry National Scenic Area, part of which was known by the Victorians as 'the Scottish Riviera'. It is a popular and picturesque area between two villages and Rough Island and is managed by the National Trust for Scotland.
Depending on your preferred distance, at your welcome meeting we suggest several walk options which can include further along the coast at nearby Sandhills and to the town of Dalbeattie via Dalbeattie Forest. There are several places of interest which we give info on, including beaches, villages, and a 6th century mote and bailey hill fort. We also advise on options for refreshment with tea rooms and a good food pub.
Livingstone Hill - 6 to 10 miles
You start from an old church with views over Loch Ken from where to walk to the start of the Livingstone Hill walk. A detour gives you the best views over the Loch Ken and beyond. Ken Dee Marshes RSPB nature reserve can be visited on this walk, with bird hides bside the loch, or we have a shorter route continuing over the hill. A quiet country road gets you to the village of Laurieston with a photographic gallery and memorial to SR Crockett.
Apart from the scenery, a bonus attraction to this walk is a visit to the daily red kite feeding spectacle at Bellymack Farm where up to around 100 red kites arrive at feeding time (entrance fee). The walk ends by following the old country 'kirk road' track, formerly used by churchgoers between Laurieston and the church start point.
Wigtown and Newton Stewart - 5 and 5 miles
Today we suggest a gentle walk to have a look in and around the towns of Wigtown and Newton Stewart. You can take your car or the bus from Newton Stewart to Wigtown, Scotland's book town. After a look through the book shops in the old county town but we suggest a walk including the Martyr's Stake by the coast to the harbour, then on to Bladnoch whisky distillery and a riverside walk with different options incluiding to an old airfield. We suggest a popular food pub for lunch here before returning to Newton Stewart. We provide several walk options by the riverside and around the town to explore. This may include a riverside walk to a soon to be opened gin distillery and a nearby hill with panoramic views over the Cree estuary and Galloway Hills.
Glentrool - 6 to 12 miles
Today's walk is west of Castle Douglas and north of Newton Stewart, the 'Gateway to the Galloway Hills' at Glentrool, deep in the Galloway Hills! The area has Scottish Highlands-like scenery and popular with walkers, including the start point to the highest hill in the south of Scotland, Merrick at 843 metres.
Apart from the Merrick walk, we suggest a walk around Loch Trool joining the Southern Upland Way, the cross country walking route for part of the time. There are some great riverside routes here also, so you can do walks combination in the area. When you arrive we advise on the walk options in the area, including the two refreshment places. We normally arrange accommodation in Newton Stewart after this walk.
Fleet Valley National Scenic Area - 4 to 10 miles
Gatehouse of Fleet is at the mouth of the River Fleet and in the Fleet Valley National Scenic Area.
We have several walk options from here - a hill walk to a hillside loch with a loop back down to the Valley floor and Castramont Wood, an ancient oak woodland. The Cally Woods have several walk routes at the edge of the town. Castramont Castle, accessed by the riverside path is worth a look as is a short hillside walk to Anwoth area. The third option is to take a walk to the coast with several options to bays and also to an island when the tide is low. A bonus is calling in to an ice cream farm visitor centre with tea room. Normally walks in this area would be in addition to the 4 days around Castle Douglas and Newton Stewart areas.
Gatehouse Area - choose another walk
If staying at Gatehouse of Fleet in the Fleet National Scenic Area, you can do another walk here, eg a coast one in addition to a hill one the day before, or one of the others mentioned above. The Cairnsmore of Fleet nature reserve with visitor centre is also 6 miles away. We can discuss these extra day options and arrange accommodation accordingly, as you may wish to depart after your day's walk.
The town itself is well worth alook around with the MIll on the Fleet, kilt making shop, Galloway Lodge presereves shop with tea room and Cardoness Castle worth a look around.
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