We have an amazing array of sights, activities, food and wildlife to enjoy.
There is so much to do here , whatever the time of year or weather for all ages and abilities I hope you manage some of our best during your visit.
We are right inside what is called a Dark Sky Park, an area where light pollution is so low it is possible to view some of the clearest star filled skies in the country. Galloway Forest Park was classified as the first UK dark skies park In 2009 by the international dark-sky association and has been attracting visitors ever since.
The Beaches along our coastline are varied and beautiful, the best ones are the secret coves and shell shores that you can only find with local knowledge. The sea is a short drive from the farm, about 20 – 30 minutes depending on which beach you settle on, we have lots to choose from and a map is available in each welcome pack.
A trip to Scotland wouldn’t be complete without a wander around a battlement or under a portcullis. Here in D&G we have a variety of Castles to visit. There is Cardoness Castle here in our closest town Gatehouse of fleet (15 mins drive), MacLellan’s Castle in Kircudbright (30 mins drive), Threave Castle is reached via boat just outside Castle Douglas (30 mins drive) and lots more mentioned in our welcome pack.
If Gardens are your passion, we can signpost you to lots of treasures, my all time favourite has got to be Cally house Gardens which is actually in our closest town Gatehouse of fleet and an amazing walled garden home to lots of plants hunted down by the famous Michael Wickenden (sadly died in 2016) and now being nurtured by the ever interesting Kevin Hughes. Castle douglas has Threave House and Gardens, a National Trust for Scotland garden created over the years by the students of the trusts school of heritage gardening. In Kircudbright, Broughton House and Garden , again a NTS property hosts a Japanese inspired garden along with an impressive art collection.
Scotland conjures thoughts of lots of things but whiskey distilleries has got to be on most of our lists of things to do. A 40 minute drive would take you to Newton Stewart and the Crafty Distillery where you can see where they make our famous Hills and Harbour gin. A further 30 minutes along the coast will get you to The Bladnoch Distillery Scotlands oldest privately owned Scotch Distillery well worth the lovely drive for the tour and a lunch.
Galloway is very much a fun part of Scotland and keeping our children smiling is high on the priority list here , a day out to one of our many child friendly attractions is guaranteed to please we have Ernespie Farm Park in Castle Douglas , only opened last summer and already winning awards. The Cream O’ Galloway is a dairy farm turned amazing adventure play and climb attraction with the most amazing ice cream, you’ll find it for sale everywhere but all the best flavours are only available at the farm itself. The Coco Bean Factory has play areas for all ages, workshops in chocolate making, and lovely lunches. There are more to discover with details in our welcome pack .
The wildlife around the farm and surrounding areas is amazing we have regular seasonal sightings of roe deer, red kites, black grouse, Eagles, Otters, red squirrel masses of birdlife I can’t even begin to start naming however I love it when I can hear the Curlews. Binoculars are a must
There is plenty to keep us and our visitors active in the area. Horse riding is a very popular sport here, we keep ponies at Grobdale and we ride every week at Barstobrick . There are riding yards at Barstobrick where you can go for a hack or take a lesson. There is also an amazing charity horse rescue rehabilitate and rehome project just outside Gatehouse . A visit to the 3 manes or 3 R’S as its sometimes known is a must for horse lovers as its horses and scenery are breath taking .
Taking a walk here is the simplest pleasure , there are lots of opportunities to enjoy the surrounding countryside and wildlife . Many walks are marked and available to download online or buy as hardcopy printout. Everywhere you look there are markers to start a walk , even google can help . We have more details in our welcome pack.
The summer months are the most pleasant to enjoy swimming here , wild swimming is increasingly popular and something we enjoy at the farm in our own Lochen but also at the nearby Woodhall loch or in the sea at Borgue. We have indoor heated swimming pools at Castle Douglas and Kircudbright both of which are lovely.
Loch Ken boasts a fantastic water sports at the Galloway Activity Centre , the most beautiful drive ( about 30 mins ) takes you to a centre that boasts around 20 different activities from kayaking to laser tag to zip lines to sailing lessons to the open water wobbly water park course. Something to keep the most active of us busy . Cream o’ Galloway also is home to a fabulous list of activities from a huge high ‘go boing’ course to the 3d maze with 50 foot viewing tower !
Birdwatching here is stunning, we have such a varied selection it will keep most twitchers happy. I have a list from our latest enthusiast and it includes goldfinch, stonechat, chaffinch, ravens, starlings (murmaration), red kite, field fare, golden eagles, black grouse, cuckoo (heard and seen) reed bunting and the most amazing Hen harriers! And many more , come visit and add to my list.
Food here is a big deal, every pub, restaurant or café that you will visit are all trying hard to impress ! We are yet to find one that we don’t like , Fish and chips is extremely good at Polarbites in Kircudbright , the best menu ever in a chippy. The Selkirk arms in Kircudbright is my favourite place to eat Lobster (June) and Jimmy’s Steak night at The Masonic arms in Gatenhouse is not to be missed. The Galloway lodge also in Gatehouse has the best lunch menu and on a cold day you have to try their hot chocolate it’s a Legend.. There are lots more I can recommend and we will constantly update our welcome pack as we try out new places and revisit old favourites.
Because we are so fixated on food here , we have a few food festivals celebrating what is so fresh and fabulous here . Wigtown, Kircudbright and Castle Douglas have at least one food event a year each and there are many more especially in the summer months to look out for.
Each of the towns here are known for something and Castle Douglas ( about 30mins drive) is our Food town with around 50 different food suppliers or providers it’s a foodie heaven. The earths crust bakery , Griersons butchers and lots of other great traditional high street independents.
Kircudbright boasts a cookery school, where you can take a class, watch a demonstration or just enjoy the produce in the café. However you choose to sample the food at the Station house cookery school Nick will keep your taste buds dancing. There’s always plenty to choose from on the website.
Local produce is available everywhere you look , including the farm . We sell our meat and eggs directly from the farm at our farm shop ( open by appointment) and through local restaurants. Most of the shops stock a few local suppliers , honey from Quaterlands, jam and chutney from the Galloway Lodge, Bread at The Earths crust ( their quiche is gorgeous too ) . The Galloway Smokehouse on the coastal road at Carsluith is a fabulous place to buy smoked ( or not ) fresh fish , meat, cheese and other items along with a lovely restaurant next door.
Shopping and events
Castle douglas is known as a food town , Kircudbright is the artists town and Wigtown is known for its bookshops and cafes . Lots of our towns have specialities with lots going on. Each town usually has a website or facebook page that can give up to date details of the various activities going on , lots of the towns have a ‘Gala week’ during the summer (one usually follows another so it’s likely you will be able to experience at least one of them . The Gala week usually finishes with a common ‘Riding of the Marches’ , a spectacular sight and experience everyone should see if they can , the torchlight procession is also a must in Gatehouse . Common Riding of the Marches is a tradition almost 700 years old where the landowners big and small would once a year ride the boundaries (marches) of the town to check that it’s landmarks (crosses, cairns, wells and streams) had not been tampered with or altered in any way by the English therefore the Burgh boundaries were maintained in good order.
Brief History of the area
The local area in general is seen as an area of outstanding natural beauty we have the dark skies park right here and the Fleet valley national scenic area to enjoy . Dumfries and Galloway hosts three of scotlands national scenic areas, one of which The Fleet valley is right on our doorstep in gatehouse of Fleet . An area not to be missed and a must for the walkers and photographers who visit us each year.
Our nearest town is Gatehouse of Fleet, and has a lovely history. Although the town only dates back to the 1760s, the area around Gatehouse of Fleet has been inhabited since pre-history. Nearby Neolithic and Bronze Age antiquities include the chambered cairns at Cairnholy and Trusty’s Hill fort with its Pictish stone carvings, known as the De’il’s Specs (Devil’s Spectacles). Cardoness Castle, the 15th century tower of the McCullochs, keeps watch over the Fleet estuary, while the roofless old kirk at Anwoth yields fascinating insights into Scotland’s turbulent religious past.Gatehouse owes its development to the entrepreneur James Murray of Broughton, whose great house, Cally – now a high class hotel – was completed in 1765. The original Gait House was simply a staging post on the important route to Portpatrick and Ireland, but from 1760-1850 the town grew into a thriving centre.In 1795 gatehouse had cotton mills, a brass foundry, brewery, brickworks, soap factory, tanneries – and double its present day population.Today it is hard to imagine that Gatehouse was once known as “the Glasgow of the South” but traces of its industrial past remain in its buildings and street names.The Mill on the Fleet was one of the factories built by the Birtwhistle family from Yorkshire, and its water-wheel is driven by the eastern lade that flows behind the High Street houses.The Mill on the Fleet is host to events throughout the year ranging from local acts to international artists. Port Macadam, once the town’s harbour, lies on the stretch of the Fleet that was canalised in 1824, and used to receive up to 150 ships a year.