Galloway Forest Park is an area of outstanding natural beauty, reaching over 300 square miles of awe-inspiring views. A visit to the site is a must when staying at Queensberry Bay or Viewfield manor in West Scotland, as the abundance of explorative walks will take adventurists breath away with the truly stunning scenery. Just the drive into the area is enough to make you speechless.
Begin your adventure at one of the Visitors centres, the Kirroughtree is at the gate of the Forst Park so is a great starting point for active adventures. The Glentool centre is a great base from which to discover the woodlands and take in the rich history of the area. Finally, Clatteringshaws is another fantastic base from which to begin a spectacular adventure, including the world famous 7stanes mountain bike trail centres.
There are already a number of set trails in place, so you can choose between gentle strolls to take in the sights or opt for more strenuous hikes through the mountains to get a real sense of the beautiful and varied landscape. A whole range of fantastic routes can be found here. You can find a few routes you like, and plan your visit around it, depending on the sites you want to see.
Glen Trool Circuit
One of our favourite walks to explore is the Glen Trool circuit. You can take in the spectacular views of Merrick, which is the highest peak within the Galloway Forest. As well as the beautiful Loch Trool. A serene and tranquil stop by the loch with give you a real feeling of peace. Plus you’ll be surrounded by views that are too incredible to describe! This walk is also brimming with history. Look out for Bruce’s Stone overlooking the site of the Battle of Glen Trool. Once your visit winds to an end, you can drop by the friendly Visitors Centre to unwind in the café whilst still enjoying the local wildlife.
For history buffs, the Talnorty Trail will bring you to the striking Murray’s monument. The monument is in memory of Alexander Murray, a local shepherd boy who later became Professor of Oriental Languages at Edinburgh University. The trail can also be followed to the impressive Grey Meres Tail Waterfall, a perfectly peaceful spot to enjoy the surroundings and the sound of the crashing water and local wildlife.
Red Deer Range
If wildlife spotting is more your thing, the Red Deer Range is the perfect location to spot deer in their natural habitat. You can view the spectacular creatures from the shelter of the hide. There’s around 60 living within the woodland area. Keen photographers will love the chance to snap the beauty of the deer in such breathtaking surroundings. You can also learn more from the rangers, with selected events running throughout the year. The area is full of beauty and an abundance of local wildlife, such as buzzards and birds of prey.
Dark Skies at Galloway Forest
Planning a dark visit and always wanted to see the Northern Lights? For avid star-gazers, Galloway Forest is one of Scotland’s finest areas with a Dark Sky Park status. There is very minimal light pollution, allowing the sky and spattering of stars to be crystal clear on a cloudless night. In the colder months when the dark hours are longer, you might even catch a chance at seeing the amazing Aurora Borealis, a phenomenal experience that makes everyone’s bucket list. You can really make the most of your stargazing experience with a visit to the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory. The Observatory is sited on a hilltop, on the edge of the Galloway Forest. Here, you can use the two powerful telescopes to achieve a full and clear view of the dark sky. You’ll be truly astounded by the sight!
These are just a few of the great ways to discover the Galloway Forest Park. With the 300 square miles of beauty, there’s so much more you can explore! Whether you’re looking for gentle strolls in outstanding beauty with scenic spots to snap the perfect photograph, adventurous bike trails with panoramic views of the peaks or a visit to see the crystal clear sky in the pitch-black night, Galloway Forest is the perfect National Park to discover the hidden wonders or Scotland.