Things to see and do in the area

Kirroughtree Visitor Centre

A few hundred metres from Craighindle  is the new Visitor Centre - turn right at the foot of the drive, right again at the crossroads.  This includes a large cafe, an adventure play area, The Break Pad bike shop and is the hub of the Galloway Dark Sky Park.  The Forest Enterprise visitor centres at Stroan Bridge (14 miles) and Clatteringshaws (11 miles by the short route) are also well worth visiting.

Forest Walks

There are lovely, waymarked forest walks starting from the Visitor Centre.  Bruntis Loch is beautiful at any time of year but especially when the silver birches are coming in to leaf and later when the water lilies are flowering.  In the late spring parts of the forest floor are carpeted in bluebells.

7-Stanes Mountain Biking

Kirroughtree Forest is one of the 7-Stanes mountain biking centres with extensive trails laid out in and around the forest.  These range from the straightforward green trail through blue and red to the very demanding black trail.  They all start from the Visitor Centre.  Good quality mountain bikes can be hired at The Break Pad.  The 7-Stanes  Glentrool Centre is only 14 miles from Kirroughtree and the other five centres are within easy reach by car for a day’s riding.

Newton Stewart

- is an attractive town with a good range of shops, a leisure centre and swimming pool, a cinema, and a variety of restaurants.

Creetown - and the Gem Rock Museum

Creetown is four mile to the east along the A75 or on Cycle Route 7.  It is the home of the fascinating Gem Rock Museum.

The Mull of Galloway

-is Scotland's most southerly point and is one of its least known areas, remaining an unspoiled paradise for visitors seeking peace and tranquility.  At the Mull of Galloway Experience you can climb Scotland's most Southerly lighthouse, but also to learn how the lighthouse used to operate by visiting the lighthouse exhibition.  There is also a viewing point to watch gannets diving for fish.

Portpatrick

- is an attractive village with a fascinating harbour, and well worth a visit.  Portpatrick's origins stretch back some 500 years. Just south of the village is the clifftop location of the ruins of Dunskey Castle, dating back to the early 1500s, while in the village itself the roofless remains of the Old Parish Church are attached to a circular tower also dating back to the 1500s.

The second "must see" view is gained from the north end of the inner harbour. Here you find the marker of the start of the 212 mile Southern Upland Way long distance footpath. Behind it steps lead up the cliff. From the cliffside near the garden gate you get excellent views south over the whole village.

Kirkcudbright

- has had a long association with the Glasgow art movement, which started when a colony of artists, including the Glasgow Boys and the famed Scottish Colourists, such as Samuel Peploe and Francis Cadell, based themselves in the area over a 30-year period from 1880 to 1910.

The Isle of Whithorn

Scotland's Christian heritage began here in the Machars and, nurtured by our first missionary St Ninian, it blossomed and spread over much of the country.

Centuries later and Whithorn and its Isle are still places of quiet pilgrimage, at St Ninian's Cave on the dramatic western coastline; at the small chapel that lies close by the Isle of Whithorn; or at Whithorn Priory, where Ninian established Candida Casa - the white or shining house. There is an  exhibition at the Whithorn Visitor Centre, which tells the story of Whithorn from prehistoric times to the present day. The excavations at Whithorn have revealed many important artefacts which are now on display in the Centre.

Glen Trool

- is a tranquil spot at the heart of the forest. One can sit in the Visitor Centre, drink tea and watch woodland birds busy on the feeders or climb the Merrick hill.  This area's history is also written into the landscape – look out for Bruce's Stone nearby, overlooking the Battle of Glen Trool in 1307, and a moving monument to 17th century covenanters, slain for their religious beliefs.  Glentrool is also one of the world-famous 7-Stanes mountain bike trail centres, with a range of trails for novice and experienced riders.

Wigtown

- was officially designated as Scotland's National Book Town in 1998 and is now home to over 20 book-related businesses. A book lovers haven – and with over quarter of a million books to choose from, old and new … it is impossible to escape empty-handed.  Wigtown Book Festival offers more than 180 events for adults, children and young people including literature, music, film, theatre, arts and crafts. The festival takes place for 10 days each and has welcomed speakers such as Ian Rankin, Celia Imrie, John Simpson, Joanna Lumley, Douglas Hurd, Sally Magnusson, Richard Holloway, Tony De Saulles, Philip Ardagh and Cathy Cassidy.

For more information please visit the Festival website.