Walking in Dumfries & Galloway

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The River Cree in Newton Stewart
Newton Stewart Walking guide ››

Download a copy of the new guide to walks around Newton Stewart, gateway to the Galloway Hills.

  • Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfries & Galloway
    Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfries & Galloway
  • Kirroughtree Forest, near Newton Stewart
    Kirroughtree Forest, near Newton Stewart
  • The head of Loch Ryan, Dumfries & Galloway
    The head of Loch Ryan, Dumfries & Galloway
  • Public art in Dumfries - Dumfries trades emblems on the railing beside the River Nith
    Public art in Dumfries - Dumfries trades emblems on the railing beside the River Nith
  • One of Andy Goldsworthy's Striding Arches on Bail Hill, looking towards Cairnhead, Dumfries and Galloway
    One of Andy Goldsworthy's Striding Arches on Bail Hill, looking towards Cairnhead, Dumfries and Galloway

From coast to glen, Dumfries & Galloway never ceases to amaze thanks to the huge variety of walking routes on offer. Whether it’s up in the hills or along the coastline, there is walk to suit all abilities, not to mention Scotland’s longest walking route and several fantastic walking festivals.

Walking in Dumfries & Galloway

Head to the hills of Dumfries & Galloway and you’ll be amazed by the range of walking routes on offer as you take in the wild landscape. Uncover the rugged beauty of the Galloway Hills as you explore the forests, lochs and moors on foot.

The Galloway Hills take in 24 peaks above 2,000 ft and among them are ranges such as the Rhins of Kells, the Minnigaff Hills, the Awful Hand and the Dungeon Hills. One of the landscape treasure of the area is the Galloway Forest Park, covering more than 480km sq and claiming the first Dark Sky Park in the UK.

Below is just a small selection of the many trails you could choose.

Easy walks

  • Balcary Bay to Rascarrel
    Distance: 7.5km; duration: 2 - 3 hours
    This short walk along the Solway Firth is a great way to unwind and take in some of the region’s most stunning views. Look out for gorgeous maritime flowers and fascinating geological features along both the coastal and woodland paths. From the bench at Airds Point you can see the cliffs which you have just traversed.

  • The Wigtown Martyr’s Stake
    Distance: 6.4km; duration: 2 hours
    This walk heads from Wigtown on a gentle slope to where two Covenanters - Margaret Lachlane and Magaret Wilson - were tied to steaks in the mudflats and allowed to drown as the tide came in. This easy walk offers views of the river Bladnoch and the nature reserve of Wigtown Bay.  

  • Robert Burn’s Town Trail
    Distance: 1.6km; duration: Allow 1 hour but leave extra time to visit the Burns attractions.
    This easy circular rout takes you through the town centre of Dumfries. The trail begins at the Visitor Information Centre on Whitesands and passes a number of landmarks associated with Burns' time in Dumfries. Spend time visiting these historic locations and learn more about Scotland’s National Bard.

  • Cairnsmore of Fleet
    Distance: 12.5km; duration: 3.5 - 5 hours
    The Cairnsmore of Fleet is the highest of the Solway Hills, and the most southerly two thousand foot hill in Scotland. Take a peaceful stroll through Cairnsmore of Fleet National Nature Reserve (NNR) to reach the summit where you will be rewarded with magnificent views of the Cree Estuary and the Solway Firth. This is a popular and straightforward hillwalk.

  • Mull of Galloway
    Distance: 0.7 km; duration:  0.5 hours
    This short waymarked route takes you through the RSPB Mull of Galloway Reserve towards the dramatic sea cliffs. The reserve contains an amazing variety of wildlife and the walk provides the opportunity to see the incredible and varied species.

Moderate walks

  • Screel Hill
    Distance: 5km; duration: 2 - 3 hours
    Scree Hill might be a relatively small hill, at 344 m, but the reward for reaching the summit is one of spectacular views of the Queensbury Range, Rhinns of Kells and the beautiful Solway Firth. The follows forest paths before heading to rocky paths on the open hill.

  • Murray’s Monument, Newton Stewart
    Distance: 2.5km; duration: 1.5 hours
    This short waymarked walk takes you to the heart of the Galloway Forest Park. The route climbs steadily up to the impressive Murray Monument before returning through the woods and past an attractive waterfall. From the summit there are fabulous views of the surrounding countryside.

  • Criffel
    Distance: 5km; duration: 2.5 - 3 hours
    If you fancy a challenge try the Ascent of Criffel. This short, sharp, steep hill dominates the Solway coastline. The vistas from the summit include the Solway Firth and its esturies, the Lake District and Isle of Man.

  • St Ninian’s Cave
    Distance: 7.25km; duration: 2 - 3 hours
    This coastal walk follows in the footsteps of St Ninian, Scotland’s first Saint and the man who brought Christianity to these shores in the 4th century. This dramatic cliff top walk hugs the coastline before making a steep and winding zig-zag descent to reach the shore line. The route then continues along the pebbly shore until you reach St Ninian’s Cave.

  • Drumlanrig Castle to Burnmouth
    Distance: 15.5km; duration: 4 - 4.5 hours
    This walk follows the tree-lined banks of the River Nith upstream from Drumlanrig Castle. There are some lovely views of the Southern Uplands as the track climbs away from the river.

Strenuous walks

  • White Coomb by the Grey Mare’s Tail
    Distance: 11.5km; duration: 4 - 6 hours
    White Coomb is one of the most dramatic walks in the Southern Uplands of Scotland. At 2,696 ft (822 m), it is the highest of the Moffat hills. This walk climbs past the spectacular Grey Mare's Tail, one of Scotland’s highest waterfalls. The area is a designated nature reserve so look out for rare upland plants and creatures such as peregrine falcons and mountain hares.

  • Loch Ryan Coastal Path
    Distance: 18km; duration: 5 - 6 hours
    This beautiful coastal walk extends 18km from Stranraer in the south to Glenapp Church in the north. The route offer stunning views of Lochryan and the adjacent land, where one can see large numbers of species of bird along with a variety of colourful wild flowers.

  • Striding Arches
    Distance: 9km; duration: 2.5 - 3 hours
    Starting from Cairnhead Forest this lovely walk takes in several red sandstone arches scattered throughout the area’s hilltops that were created by local artist Andy Goldsworthy. The combination of Goldsworthy’s grand sculptures against the natural beauty of the peaceful glen makes for a breathtaking site.

  • Rhinns of Kells
    Distance: 16.5km; duration: 5 - 7 hour
    This excellent walk meanders through forest track before reaching the exposed hilltops of the great Rhinns of Kells ridge. The highest point on the ridge is Corserine at 2,670 ft (814 m). The walk offers wonderful views throughout, notably of Loch Doon and the Range of the Awful Hand.

      • Green Lowther 
        Distance: 11.5km; duration: 3 - 3.5 hours
        Green Lother is the highest hill in the Lowther range, at 2,401 ft (732 m). The route to the summit is on a (private) tarmac road. The steep flanks of this hill make it a challenging climb and the views from the summit are superb.

      Forest walks

      • Mabie Forest Lochaber Trail
        Distance: 6.5km; duration: 2.5 - 3 hours
        Mabie Forest has walking trails suitable for all abilities. This route meanders through the 100 hectare Mabie nature reserve. The landscape is made up of a variety of natural habitats which support some of Scotland’s rarest wildlife such as nightjars, butterflies and dragonflies.

      • Kirroughtree Forest Trail
        Distance: 4.5km; duration: 1 - 1.5 hours
        Kirroughtree Forest is one the 7stanes mountain biking centres, but also offers a range of waymarked walks. Departing from the car park this track ascends into the mixed woodland before merging with an old military road.

      • Cally Woods
        Distance: 3.25km; duration: 1 hours
        This easy walk follows waymarked woodland paths which meander through mixed woodland. This tranquil woodland is a haven for wildlife including red squirrels and wildflowers.

      • Dundeugh Forest
        Distance: 7.km; duration: 1.5 - 2 hours
        This pleasant cicular route follows forest tracks around the Dundeugh Forest. This wooded hill is actually an island formed by the Water of Ken, Water of Deugh and the Kendoon Loch to the north. It is recommended that stout shoes or boots are worn for this walk.

      • Knockman Wood
        Distance: 4.5km; duration: 1 - 1.5 hours
        Knockman Wood offers a relaxing stroll in a wood steeped in history. This excellent excellent circuit visits a neolithic chambered cairn as well as more recent archaeological remains from medieval times. If you are quiet you may be lucky enough to see Fallow or Roe Deer grazing.