The trail is a great way to explore scenic, inner Galloway while looking for the spectacular red kite, a bird of prey reintroduced here since 2001. A 24 mile circular road trip, open all year round (plus 14 mile summer trail in Galloway Forest Park).
The Galloway Kite Trail is an exciting opportunity to view spectacular red kites in lovely scenery and is a great attraction for walkers, cyclists, wildlife lovers and birdwatchers. Situated around beautiful Loch Ken, the trail promotes the population of kites, recently re-established in Kirkcudbrightshire. In so doing, the trail is helping to strengthen the 'ownership' of the kites by local communities.
The trail is an anticlockwise route of some twenty four miles around Loch Ken (winter) with an additional fourteen miles of forest drive (summer only). Being out on a bike is a great way to spot red kites and for the energetic, it’s a reasonably level route, with cycle racks provided at various points along the route. The west side of Loch Ken is particularly quiet and attractive for cyclists.
There are viewing points with interpretation boards and shelters; several walks,(from a few hundred metres to 5km); viewing hides; a feeding station; visitor centre with CCTV (summer only); information boards in various outlets around Loch Ken; and two red kite sculptures, (at Parton and Mossdale). The trail is signposted with brown road signs in an anticlockwise direction, for additional guidance en route.
A feeding station with a visitor centre and viewing hide has been established at Bellymack Hill Farm near Laurieston, and over 100 kites have often been seen together. These include a few of the birds released between 2001 and 2005, as well as birds naturally fledged in Galloway. RSPB Scotland are present on some days to provide information and answer questions. The trail also offers good views of raven, buzzard and chances to see red squirrel and wildlife on Loch Ken. For information about guided walks on the trail and open days at the feeding station, check http://www.rspb.org.uk/events/.