Outdoor Pursuits in Dumfries & Galloway
A wealth of outdoor activities for all ages and abilities
Dumfries and Galloway is a wonderful area to visit for those that love the outdoors. It has amazing scenery that can be enjoyed by all with access to viewpoints from the car, easy walks suitable for a gentle stroll with pushchair, accessible woodland trails, dramatic cliff top hikes, and mountain and woodland walks. There are opportunities for cycling, sailing, golf and a plethora of other activities. Here we highlight some of the possibilities, further down the page you can find links to more information.
Dumfries and Galloway has over 200 miles of stunning coast with much of it enjoyable by foot. There are a number of spectacular cliff top walks near Kirkennan; the photo shows one of our favourites - the walk from Balcary Bay to Rascarell beach.
Hiking in the hills
Kirkennan is well placed to reach a range of hill walks. Those that like to get up into the hills will not be disappointed with the options of: Galloway Forest Park to the west, the largest forest park in Britain with over 300 square miles of outstanding natural beauty; walks in the Moffat hills to the east; Screel with its spectacular views over the coast very close; and Criffel just off the coastl road between Kirkennan and Dumfries.
The photo shows the walk up Merrick - the highest summit in southern Scotland.
There are miles of woodland walks from the door of your Kirkennan accommodation with a short drive adding many more options including trails in Dalbeattie Forest.
The photo shows a circular trail at Doach wood about 5 minute drive from Kirkennan.
Dumfries and Galloway has over 450km of signposted cycle routes many of them along quiet country roads. Furthermore five of the 7-Staines off road cycling networks are within easy reach of Kirkennan for those that enjoy mountain biking. Dalbeattie is just round the corner. Mabie (13 miles away), Ae(27 miles) , Kirroughtree (36 miles), and Glentrool (49 miles) have also been used by visitors to Kirkennan.
The Urr is a Salmon river – you cannot fly fish from our stretch as it is tidal, but it is possible to fish from its banks further up-stream. Contact Dalbeattie Angling Association or Castle Douglas Angling Association for details. Loch Ken is known for Pike and Course fishing. Information on shore fishing can be found here.
Additional information can be found on the FishPal webpage for Galloway.
Scotland is the home of golf, and the area has many golf courses. The nearest are:
Dalbeattie golf club - a 9 hole course that is one of the oldest in the region (3 miles).
Craigieknowes Golf Course - a scenic 9 hole par 3 course near Kippford (5 miles).
Castle Douglas Golf Club - a 9 hole parkland course near the centre of the town (8 miles).
Colvend Golf Club - an 18 hole parkland layout with some challenging water features (9 miles).
Sailing, boating and kayaking
The Galloway Activity Centre offers sailing and other water based activities at Loch Ken. It is possible to launch a boat in Kippford. There are plenty of places for river, loch and sea kayaking and an active local kayaking club. There is plenty of room and safe off road parking at Kirkennan for you to bring your own kayak or canoe.
The Barend Riding Centre, just outside Dalbeattie, offers riding lessons and countryside trecks.
Many of the outdoor attractions in Dumfries and Galloway are accessible by wheelchair or mobility scooter. Trails and paths that are accessible include:
A trail at Kirroughtree Visitor Centre with accessible hide
Lochmaben has an accessible trail alongside the Loch, a small parking area by the castle ruins with views over the loch and an accessible fishing pier.
Please see our page on wheelchair accessible attractions for a fuller list.
Hikes and walks near Kirkennan
There are many walks to enjoy in the local area. Guests can walk around Kirkennan Estate itself and enjoy the landscaped gardens and woodland. On the opposite side of the road there are walks through Ramshaw, Kirkennan and Munches woods [map and photos] and up to the view point of Raven’s Craig.
Coastal walks include:
- Almorness House to Horse Isles Bay and White Port (4 - 4.5 miles) A lovely walk through woodland to two beautiful beaches. [photos]
- Auchencairn to Red Haven and Torr Point (1.5 – 3 miles)
- Balcary to Rascarell (1.5-8 miles)
- Rockcliffe to Kippford (4 miles). This beautiful circular walk can be done in either direction, but bear in mind that the only refreshments are to be found in Kippford so you might want to factor that into your decision. The walk can be extended to Castle Point and beyond to Sandyhills.
- Sandyhills to Kippford This is a linear version of the walk above starting in Sandyhills and ending at Kippford.
Woodland walks include:
- 8.5 km of paths in Ramshaw woods across the road from Kirkennan - here you can find 3 lochs and the remains of a previous walled garden at Kirkennan. A printed version of this map should be in the cottage information file - if you need another copy please ask.
- Tornat Wood - a short loop through woods to the south of Palnackie with views over the River Urr towards Kippford.
- Dalbeattie Forest Walks – over 100 miles of track open to the public with some graded colour coded walks.
- Wood of Cree - trails through the largest ancient woodland in Southern Scotland, called 'magical' by The Guardian.
- Galloway Forest Park – 300 square miles of parkland which is the UK’s first Dark Sky Park.
- Carstramon Wood - especially lovely at bluebell time.
Mountain or hill walks include:
- Raven's Craig - a very short walk to the top of the rocky outcrop overlooking Kirkennan with great views.
- Screel and Bengairn (7-8 miles)
- Criffel (3 miles)
- Merrick (8.25 miles) the highest summit in Southern Scotland.
To help you make the most of your time in Dumfries and Galloway we have also put together a virtual reference library on walks in the local area with a lot more ideas for routes.
- A map of National cycle routes can be found here. Additional ideas for routes can be found here. Bikes can be hired in Dalbeattie at MPG Cycles.
- Five of the 7-Staines off road cycling networks are within easy reach of Kirkennan. Dalbeattie is just round the corner. Mabie (13 miles away), Ae(27 miles) , Kirroughtree (36 miles), and Glentrool (49 miles) have also been used by visitors to Kirkennan.
All Kirkennan cottages are child friendly and dog friendly.
The Mews forms part of what used to be Kirkennan's stable block and is ideal accommodation for couples or small parties. The Mews has a downstairs shower-room which can be used for drying wet gear, leaving the upstairs bathroom for other use. A wood-burning stove offers cozy evenings in after a day's hard activity.
The Lodge sits in its own large garden and has a seperate garage ideal for storing bikes, fishing gear or other equipment. The comfortable sitting room has a open fire for relaxing evenings after your exertions.
Woodsedge provides accessible accommodation all on one level with a rear garden. It has its own garage where we keep the mobility scooter; this can also be used to store bicyles, fishing gear or other equipment.