Castle Douglas and the surrounding countryside are ideal for the walker. Its close proximity to the coast, forests and hills make it a great area to explore. From the tall douglas firs in Doach Wood to the butterflies at Threave Gardens in the summer, these walks will take you through a wide variety of habitats including woodland, marshes, farmland, wetland and moorland, all of which are within easy reach of Castle Douglas. In spring and summer, there is an abundance of wildflowers and butterflies to enjoy. In winter you are treated to the spectacle of huge flocks of geese in and around Threave Estate. Loch Ken/River Dee, also notable for its wildfowl, is set in one of the most scenic and unspoilt parts of Galloway and is designated a Regional Scenic Area. Click here to download the Walks in CD PDF brochure
A few miles east of Kirkcudbright, along the A711 coast road towards Dalbeattie, you will come across the village of Auchencairn. Starting from the car park at the bridge in the village this walk will take you to Red Haven, a wonderful, small and secluded bay with fabulous views out to the larger Auchencairn Bay, Hestan Island and the Solway shore. A fairly level walk of about 7.5kms. More info on the Walking Scotland website
Gatehouse of Fleet offers a wide variety of walks at all times of the year. In February the Cally Oakwoods are carpeted by snowdrops, followed by daffodils and blue bells, when Castramont Wood is a mass of colour. Later on in the year the hills behind Gatehouse open up with lots more walking opportunities.
The Gatehouse Walks Booklet
A booklet has been produced with details of a series of walks in and about Gatehouse of Fleet. The booklet, which contains maps, photographs and accompanying text on 7 different walks, is available in Gatehouse on you can download the PDF copy here.
The entrance to Threave Estate is at the southern end of Castle Douglas just south of Carlingwark Loch and is easy to find. The Threave estate, owned by the National Trust for Scotland, has numerous public paths, by-passing the gardens. Park in the car-park at the gardens and follow the yellow arrow route markers. There are lots of choices to make during the route to extend the roate to take in other attractions and things of interest. The Walking Scotland Website has lots more information about what’s available.
Walking from the town centre go south on St Mary St past the museum, then turn left into St Mary’s Place and walk uphill towards the Caravan Site. Opposite the site entrance enter Woodlands Avenue and you will see a short footpath and stile leading into the wood. Alternative access can be made at the small car park just past the graveyard on the B727 Gelston Road. The car park is just off the minor road at the hairpin bend. The paths meandering though the wood are generally firm and easy going. There are a variety of circular routes which can be tackled. The trees are mainly deciduous with a mix of conifers allowing the vegetation to flourish in the springtime when the wild hyacinths are spectacular. There are several viewpoints looking north and west over the town and south to the estuary. There are seats and a picnic area.
A few miles east of Kirkcudbright, along the A711 coast road towards Dalbeattie, you will come across the village of Auchencairn. At the bridge, take the minor road ahead and travel right to the end (just after Balcary Bay Hotel. From the car park follow the signs to take to on a spectacular cliff-top walk with views over the Solway coast and beyond. The circular route of around 13km takes you to Rascarrel Bay and follows on to Loch Mackie. More info on the Walking Scotland website
This is a long established woodland walk, following a path parallel with the coast, between Mill Hall and Senwick Church. It uses the car park at the Dhoon shore, approximately 3 miles south of Kirkcudbright. The route is seldom more than 50 to 100 meters from the sea’s edge and is very scenic, with views across Kirkcudbright Bay. Visit the webpage for more information.
A short signposted uphill walk of approx 2km alongside mature woodland leading to a viewpoint which offers extensive views over Loch Ken and towards the Galloway hills. Look out for red squirrels, buzzards and red kites. Accessed from the A713 Castle Douglas to Ayr road just north of Parton Village, parking is available near the entrance to the caravan site. More info on the Walking Scotland website
This is a short and undemanding walk through delightful ancient woodland justly famous for the display of woodland bluebells in the late spring. In the care of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the wood is situated to the north-west of Gatehouse of Fleet. Take the road towards Laurieston but after about three-quarters of a mile, turn off left along narrow lane. Park in lay-by just before turn-off signed ‘Creetown via Gatehouse of Fleet Station’. Map reference of lay-by is NX 589601. More info on the Walking Scotland website
This walk is extremely popular with residents of Kirkcudbright and is about 4.5 miles long. All on the public roads, the busier stretches of which have pavements, much of it is easy, level walking with one steep hill to negotiate. From the town centre take the A711 south of the town past Manxman’s Lake until you reach Mutehill. Follow the main road a few hundred yards past the garden centre then take the minor road to the left and follow the course of the Buckland Burn. When you reach the bridge, turn left again and climb the hill from which you will have spectacular views over the hills to the west, before walking downhill again and back into town. A lovely walk with mixed coastal, woodland and pastoral sections.