Reasons to visit the Galloway Forest Park
28 February 2018
The Galloway Forest Park, often referred to as ‘the Highlands of the Lowlands’, is home to 300 square miles of magnificent scenery, amazing wildlife, and must-see tourist attractions.
With so many wonderful things to see and do, this incredible park really does have something for everyone. Here are just a few reasons why the Galloway Forest Park should feature on your bucket list.
You can experience some of the best stargazing in Scotland
Ayrshire is one of the best locations for stargazing and, in 2009, the Galloway Forest Park became Europe’s first official Dark Sky Park. As so few people live in the area, light pollution is minimal, which means that on clear nights, you can see over 7,000 stars and planets with the naked eye.
The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory, located on the edge of the park, is home to two large telescopes that are perfect for observing the night sky. The venue hosts regular stargazing events throughout the year, however you can still enjoy amazing views on a clear night simply by digging out a pair of binoculars and finding a quiet spot at one of Galloway Forest Park’s three visitor centres at Clatteringshaws, Kirroughtree, and Glentrool.
It’s home to some amazing Scottish wildlife
When you visit the park, you have the opportunity to get up close to Scotland’s wildlife. If you’re into bird watching, follow the picturesque Galloway Kite Trail and see if you can spot majestic red kites, along with with kestrels, buzzards, and ravens, in their natural surroundings.
You can also catch a glimpse of Galloway’s red deer herd at the Red Deer Range near Creebridge, before heading over to the nearby Wild Goat Park, where you can meet a herd of rare, long-haired goats which have roamed the area since the 1970s.
You can learn about Scotland’s history and culture
If you’re a history buff, or just fancy enjoying panoramic views over Loch Trool, Bruce’s Stone is a must-see. This historic landmark celebrates Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, and overlooks the site of a violent battle which took place between Scottish and English troops in 1307.
Murray’s Monument, a memorial stone that commemorates the life and work of Edinburgh University Professor, Alexander Murray, is also well worth visiting, and its position offers equally beautiful views of the Cairnsmore of Fleet.
Another fascinating landmark that lies to the north of Galloway Forest Park is Loch Doon Castle. Built by the Bruce earls of Carrick in the late 1200s on an island in Loch Doon, the entire castle was taken down and rebuilt brick by brick at its current site in 1935 in order to protect the structure from rising water levels.
You can explore some of the region’s most beautiful walking routes
Whether you’re looking for a scenic lochside stroll or a bracing walk across the hills, Galloway Forest Park is packed with great walking routes, picturesque viewing points, and peaceful picnic spots.
From the 2km circular woodland walk to the 9.5km trek around the stunning Loch Trool, there are plenty of great walks from the Glentrool Visitor Centre. Or, if you’d prefer a route that offers the opportunity to see some local wildlife, take the Wild Watch Trail or the Little Bruntis Trail from Kirroughtree – both will lead you through areas of woodland which are home to red squirrels.
For more information about the Galloway Forest Park, or other attractions near Brunston, please get in touch with our team who will be happy to help you plan your trip.