Places to Visit in the Glenkens and further afield

Category: Interests
Published on Friday, 23 January 2015 18:37
Written by Maggi Kaye
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Anne Hughes Pottery is in Balmaclellan. There is a wide range of work with the speciality being pierced flower plates. Open Easter – September/October, 9am – 6pm. Tel.. 01644 420205

Bruce’s Stone, situated on the A712 6 miles west of New Galloway, by Clatteringshaws Loch. The stone is said to mark the spot where Robert the Bruce rested after the battle of Rapploch Moss where he defeated the English in 1307. The Moss has since been flooded to create the reservoir of Clatteringshaws and the stone move to the edge of the loch. A Romano-British circular hut was also buried under the water. It contained a triangular porch, central hearth, internal post holes an external stockyard and there was a causeway. A reconstruction has been built beside the Clatteringshaws visitor centre.

Carminnows Smokehouse is to be found 2 miles south of Carsphairn on the A712. There is a variety of smoked fish and game, they also do mail order. Open all year, Monday – Sunday 9am – 5pm. Tel. 01644 460600

Carsphairn Heritage Centre, has a themed exhibit every year. There are also reference materials and local family history records available for anyone wishing to do research. Tel. 01644 460653. Open Easter to October , 10:30 – 5pm, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday – Saturday; Sundays 2 –5pm. Admission free. 

Clatteringshaws Forest Wildlife Centre which is to be found by the side of Clatteringshaws Loch, contains a display of forest wildlife in it’s natural setting. There is a gift shop and tea-room. It is open during the summer from 10am – 5pm. Tel. 01644 420285.

Clatteringshaws Red Deer Range and Wild Goats. If you continue on from Clatteringshaws Loch towards Newton Stewart, on the A712, you will come first to the Red Deer Range (about 9 miles from New Galloway), and a couple of miles further on is the Goat park. Forest Enterprise rangers conduct guided tours of the red Deer Range from June – September , Tuesdays and Thursdays 11am and 2pm, Sundays, 2.30pm. Tel. 01671 402420

Earlston Castle – see History

Kenmuir Castle – see History

Polmaddy Settlement see History

The Raiders Road runs through the Bennan Forest is maintained by Forest Enterprise. The drive is about 10 miles long following the old drovers road, mentioned in S R Crockett’s story “The Raiders”. There are information points and wonderful views of the surrounding hills. You may be lucky and see deer, red squirrels, pine martin, ravens, buzzards and crossbills. There are also artworks, inspired by the forest to be seen near the road including the ‘Labyrinth’. Other artwork are spread throughout the Galloway Forest Park. Open April – end September.

The CatStrand – Arts and community venue, New Galloway. Tel : 01644 420374

There are a large number of interesting places to visit within easy reach of the Glenkens, here is a very small selection.


Cairnholy Two sets of chambered cairns – between Gatehouse and Creetown

Whithorn Priory and Candida Casa – Whithorn. The first church in Scotland, established by St Ninian. Learn about the excavations at the Priory.

Cardoness Castle – Gatehouse of Fleet, built in the 15th century as a family home

Carsluith Castle – 3 miles south of Creetown, also 15th century; with later outbuildings, a good example of how castles became small settlements.

Caerlaverock Castle - 8 miles SE of Dumfries, unique (in Scotland) triangular design fortification, surrounded by a double moat with a long and turbulent history

Dundrennan Abbey - along the coast from Kirkcudbright. Cistercian Abby founded in 1142, well known a the last place Mary Queen of Scots stayed in Scotland 

MacLellan’s Castle – Kirkcudbright. Built by Sir Thomas MacLellan of Bombie in 1582, on what had been the site of the Convent of Greyfriars

Maxwelton House - near Moniaive. Built in the 17th century, originally called Glencairn Castle, home of Annie Laurie (famous song)

Motte of Urr – the most extensive motte and bailey earthworks in Britain, dating from the 12th century, to be found beside the road between Haugh of Urr and Dalbeattie – see Motes and Forts

Sweetheart Abbey – New Abbey. Founded by Lady Devorgilla, daughter of Alan Lord of Galloway, in memory of her husband John Balliol

Threave Castle – Castle Douglas. Built in about 1370, home of the Black Douglases, it is situated in an island in the middle of the River Dee, and reached by ferry. Open April to September

Twelve Apostles -largest diameter stone circle on the Scottish mainland, dating from about 2000 BC. It is no as spectacular as some of the better known stone circles, and only 11 stones remain, the fate of the 12th which was there in 1789 is unknown. Not all the stones are of local origin which would imply that some had been brought some distance to the circle. It is unknown if they were ever all upright and their sizes vary considerably. It is said that it was an ancient place of worship and in the 11th century the hermit St Congal had his cell there. His name became associated with a nearby oak wood – Dercongal, and the local area was known by that name until at least the 13th century. As it was a sacred grove it was also known as Haliwod or Holywood and gave its name to the abbey build nearby which in turn gave its name to the village.. It can be found just off the A76 north of Newbridge. Map ref: NX947794

Orchardton Tower – between Dalbeattie and Auchencairn. Remarkably well preserved circular tower house built in the 15th century

Museums and other places of Interest:

Bladnoch Distillery Visitor Centre, just south of Wigtown. Open Easter to end October Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm 

Broughton House and Gardens (Hornel Museum) – Kirkcudbright. This 18th century town house was lived in by E A Hornel until his death Tel: 01554 330437

Camera Obscura – Dumfries. The building was originally a windmill, but altered in the 1830s, opening in 1836 as an observatory, museum and camera obscura.

David Coulthard Museum & Pit Stop Diner - Twynholm Tel: 01557 860050

Drumlanrig Castle – Thornhill. It was built on the site of an earlier castle between 1679 and 1691 and is the Dumfriesshire home of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry.

Dumfries & Galloway Aviation Museum, 2 miles from Dumfries. Open Easter to October 

Galloway Hydro Visitor Centre – Tongland, just outside Kirkcudbright. You can have a guided tour of the power station and learn how it works (see The Galloway Water Power Company)

Glenkiln Sculptures - near Shawhead. Map Ref: NX 838 785. Sculptures by Henry Moore, Rodin and Epstein, set in the landscape around Glenkiln Reservoir

Gretna Gateway Outlet Village – Gretna

John Paul Jones Birthplace Museum, between Dalbeattie and Dumfries. Open April to September 

Mill on the Fleet - Gatehouse of Fleet Tel: 01557 814099. Originally a cotton mill, now a visitor centre, gallery and exhibition centre

Sanquhar Post Office – the oldest post office in the world

Shambellie House – National Museum of Costume, New Abbey. Tel: 01387 850 375

Sulwath Brewery – Castle Douglas. Traditionally brewed beer!

The Stewartry Museum - Kirkcudbright Tel: 01557 331643

Tolbooth Art Centre - Kirkcudbright Tel: 01557 331556

Robert Burns :

Burns House - Dumfries

Ellisland Farm - just north of Dumfries off A76

Globe Inn – Dumfries

Robert Burns Centre – Dumfries

For anyone interested in other well known people from Dumfries and Galloway see

Other local links: