Things to see and do in Galloway

BLADNOCH

By the bridge, just a short walk from Woodpecker Cottage, lies the Bladnoch Inn and restaurant.

Opposite is Bladnoch Distillery, Scotland's most southerly, with a gift shop and whisky tours. There is also a very attractive walk along the banks of the river and a picnic area.

WIGTOWN

Close by Bladnoch lies Wigtown. As well as the usual shops, inns and restaurants, Wigtown is Scotland's National Book Town with over 20 book related businesses.

By the harbour there is a bird hide and a recently completed 'wetland' which has been successful in attracting new breeding species to the area. In the County Buildings, Ospreys can be seen via a live CCTV link.

WHITHORN

Visit Whithorn where Saint Ninian brought Christianity to Scotland in the 4th century. The newly refurbished Whithorn Museum houses a remarkable collection of Christian crosses and stones, and the nearby Isle of Whithorn, with it's pretty harbour, is the site of the ruins of St. Ninian's Chapel. St Ninian's Cave near Glasserton can be reached via a beautiful walk through the woods to the shore. You will also find Priory Antiques in the centre of Whithorn. Established 20 years ago by us, it's situated in a peaceful courtyard to the rear of a Georgian house in the middle of the town.

OTHER THINGS TO DO

Golf: There is a pretty 9 hole golf course in Wigtown, a short walk from your cottage. St. Medans, by Monreith on the coast (nice beach) and Wigtownshire County and Newton Stewart are nearby. In all, there over 30 delightful courses in Dumfries and Galloway with very reasonable green fees!

Beaches include Rigg Bay which is reached via Galloway House Gardens, close to the harbour village of Garlieston. Dating from 1740 the gardens are a haven for horticulturists and nature lovers, especially in the spring. There is a peaceful walk along the coast to Cruggleton Castle and the cliffs. Kilsture Forest on the road to Garlieston, has many forest trails alive with wild flowers, especially bluebells in spring.

GALLOWAY FOREST PARK

The Galloway Forest Park includes 300 square miles of forest, hill and loch. There are visitor centres at Glentrool, Clatteringshaws and Kirroughtree. The area, with its red deer range and wild goats, has plenty of good walks.

There is a new internationally acclaimed mountain bike trail network in Kirroughtree and Glentrool. Red kites can be seen near New Galloway. The Wood of Cree reserve, a pretty drive to the North of Newton Stewart and on the way towards the Forest Park, is run by the RSPB. This has a car park and a picnic spot by the river as well as woodland walks and an otter pool.

FOR CHILDREN

Attractions include the Gem Rock Museum in Creetown and The Cream o' Galloway with an adventure playground and ice cream dairy, large cafe, splendid views and country trails. On the way look out for the turning off to Mossyard Beach (on the right past the caravan park) with its sandy beach, and loads of sea-shells.

OTHER PLACES TO VISIT

Castle Kennedy Gardens (A75 towards Stranraer) over 75 acres and not to be missed. Logan Botanic Gardens, warmed by the Gulf Stream and almost tropical, are on the Rhins of Galloway. Glenwhan Gardens at Dunragit are also well worth a visit. Cally Gardens, near Gatehouse of Fleet, has a collection of over 4,000 perennials.

CASTLE ON AN ISLAND

Threave Castle is on the A75 by Castle Douglas. There is a pleasant walk across the fields to the river where you can take a small boat to the castle. Ring the bell for the boatman! Threave Gardens are close by.

ANCIENT CAIRN

From Newton Stewart take the A75 towards Gatehouse of Fleet. On the left (signposted) there is a short drive up a narrow track into the hills to Cairnholy Cairn which dates back to the 2nd or 3rd millenium BC. Here you can find splendid views over Wigtown Bay and the Solway. Also look out here for Kirkdale Sawmill (Visitor Centre), one of the best preserved in Galloway, it retains its original waterwheel.